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Monday, May 04, 2009

ERIC microfiche digitization project yields 55% OA

The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) has summarized the results of its microfiche digitization project.  From its April 27 announcement:

The full scope of the digitization project encompassed scanning the legacy microfiche collection of nearly 340,000 documents added to ERIC from 1966 to 1992, and reaching out to thousands of individuals and organizations who submitted these documents and hold copyright to them. This massive effort resulted in more than 55 percent of documents released online. This outcome is notable in light of the challenges associated with locating document submitters from up to 40 years ago. ERIC users now have full-text [open] access to nearly 192,000 digitized microfiche documents because copyright holders have granted ERIC permission for digital release, or in other cases, it was determined that the documents are in the public domain.

The opportunity remains for copyright holders to help ERIC expand access to their materials. National Archive Publishing Company (NAPC), ERICís partner in this major initiative, is still accepting permissions to release documents online. ERIC cannot assume permission, due to the specific language of the original permission forms and the technology available at the time of indexing. Interested copyright holders may reach NAPC by completing a contact form or calling their toll-free number. For more information, see [here].

Comment.  This has been a massive digitization and permission-seeking project.  Kudos to ERIC for undertaking it and batting 550.  It shows (again) that libre OA can facilitate preservation and format-migration by eliminating permission problems from the start.  Also see our past posts on this project.