While Google may be the most eminent pursuer of open access to books with its ambitious Library Project, it is not the first. Libraries started doing this before Google and while some libraries have partnered with Google, hundreds of other libraries have partnered with the Open Content Alliance (OCA) which is “a collaborative effort of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that helps build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia material.” Currently, the OCA is scanning approximately 1,000 public domain books per day at their 19 “scanning centers” around the world. Another organization that you may have heard of is Project Gutenberg which has been making public domain books freely accessible through the internet since long before Google and the OCA. These organizations deserve a great deal of credit for their work. You can find the 1.2 million books posted under OCA principles in the Text Archive hosted by the Internet Archive.
“Achievements for humanity.” Open Content Alliance (OCA). 16 Jul 2009 <http://www.opencontentalliance.org/>.