Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The British Library's digitization plans: some OA, some not

The British Library has released its Digitisation Strategy 2008-2011, August 2008.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)  Excerpt:

...Through digitisation, we are creating a valuable and enduring resource for scholars and the public alike. We estimate that this digitisation activity to date represents less than 1% of our collection. We want to build on our achievements in this area by maintaining and extending our digitisation programme....

By digitising our collection we aim to:

  • Open up access to content in the British Library’s collection;
  • Create a critical mass of digitised content;
  • Add value to, and open up previously unimagined areas for research;
  • Support innovative methods of research;
  • Facilitate the interpretation of our content by others for new audiences;
  • Transform discoverability of our content;
  • Make our content more visible and increase use;
  • Preserve unique, rare and fragile heritage items by digital reproduction and protect vulnerable documents;
  • Reveal illegible and hidden text or images and permit non-intrusive testing of materials;
  • Generate income to support our long-term digitisation programme.

Over the next 3 years we will build on our existing digitisation programme. Current projects include the digitisation of:

  • 20 million pages of 19th century literature [approximately 80,000 books];
  • 1 million pages of historic newspapers in addition to the 3m already digitised;
  • 4,000 hours of Archival Sound Recordings in addition to the 4,000 hours already digitised;
  • 100,000 pages of Greek manuscripts....

We want to make the Library’s collection available to as wide a range of users as possible through digitisation and ensure sustainability of the service. We will develop a range of business models including:

  • Open access, provided free of charge;
  • Limited open access (where funding allows for free as well as fee-based models);
  • Mediated access provided through a fee-paid service....

We will protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)....

  • We will reserve our right to assert IPR over the digitised collections we create....