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Subject: Government Information and the Open Content Alliance

"Web search started as just that: a look at what was available on the Web. Now, the major search providers seem to believe that everything should be available on the Web." (from an article at http://www.internetnews.com/xSP/article.php/3559121 ) This news in this article is that Microsoft's MSN joined the Open Content Alliance (OCA http://www.opencontentalliance.org/ ) that is scanning and digitizing books. 

In addition to MSN, OCA includes Yahoo, the Internet Archive, the European Archive, the National Archives of the UK, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Adobe, HP Labs, O'Reilly Media, the Prelinger Archives, the University of California, and the University of Toronto (for current list, see http://www.opencontentalliance.org/contributors.html ). OCA is similar to the Google Library Project, except that Google invokes "fair use principles" to show a snippet of text without the copyright holder's authorization, whereas OCA uses only public domain content or content with permission of the copyright holder.

Given that libraries already support access to so much of government information, this movement toward encompassing library content within Web search technologies should be good news for public access to government information. 

To me, the one remaining step is to promote interoperability between library catalog search and Web search technologies as was recommended in January 2004 by the OASIS E-Government TC ( http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/5846/wd-egov-searchservice-CD.pdf ) and in December 2004 by the U.S. Federal Interagency Committee on Government Information (http://www.search.gov/interop/Recommendations-CGI-final.doc ) 

If you agree, please make that case with anyone who may have influence with a current or potential partner in the OCA or in the Google Library Project.

Also, please post to all relevant distribution lists a note about this opportunity.



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