I think OL is torn between a number of ideas, one being a "web page
for every book, some with scans" and another being a free, open
fielded wiki for cataloging data.

I find the former pretty uninteresting. We don't need Wikipedia again.
And when it comes to scans, Google's different—and I think
correct—approach to scanning in-copyright works is the killer ap.

The latter would be a revolution, particularly for libraries. It has
the potential to reduce costs, improve quality, free them from OCLC's
restrictions, and evolve the "crawling fish" of copy cataloging into
true cooperative and social cataloging.


On 3/13/08, Eric Lease Morgan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I had the opportunity to attend an Open Library Developer's Meeting a
>  couple of weeks ago, and I have written a travel log. From my
>  conclusion:
>    The ultimate idea of Open Library goes far beyond Fred Kilgour's
>    original idea of cooperative catalog and OCLC. Yet, at the same
>    time, the core of Mr. Kilgour's idea is at the heart of Open
>    Library -- a very large, centralized library. I don't believe
>    there will ever will be or ever should be one and only one
>    library for all of humankind because libraries ultimately serve
>    individual constituents, and it is impossible for any single
>    institution (read "library") to be all things to all people. On
>    the other hand the idea of a large, centralized repository of
>    knowledge does have a certain appeal. It can be looked upon as a
>    respected authority and a touchstone for ideas. Considering the
>    exiting institutions who hold and distribute library-based
>    content, Open Library looks like a promising upstart. At the very
>    least I believe it will demonstrate what a loosely federated
>    network of committed individuals with a diverse sets of skills
>    and cooperation can do to solve large problems.
>  There is also an interesting catch phrase describing Open Library,
>  namely, one Web page for every book ever published.
>  --
>  Eric Lease Morgan
>  University Libraries of Notre Dame

Check out my library at