Open Content Alliance

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Open Content Alliance




"The Open Content Alliance (OCA) represents the collaborative efforts of a group of cultural, technology, nonprofit, and governmental organizations from around the world that will help build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content. Content in the OCA archive will be accessible soon through this website and through Yahoo!

The OCA will encourage the greatest possible degree of access to and reuse of collections in the archive, while respecting the content owners and contributors." (


"Their plan is to focus on public domain materials and publisher-licensed materials, and make them as open as possible. In particular, they're happy to let others index and replicate public domain books in their collection. As Brewster Kahle puts it, "Let the public domain stay public." Partners include Yahoo, the Internet Archive, the University of California, the University of Toronto, the Prelinger Archives, the National Archices of the UK, and O'Reilly.

They plan to start with a few thousand public domain American literature volumes from the University of California, and hope to scale up to millions of books, audio recordings, and movies. I wish them the best of success, and hope to see (and index!) their materials soon. " (


Why OCA is better than the Google Books project

Heather Morrison has self-archived "Open Content Alliance (OCA) vs. Google Books: OCA as Superior Network and Better Fit for an Emerging Global Public Sphere" in the SFU Institutional Repository.

Here's an excerpt:

"The Open Content Alliance (OCA) is a network of libraries and similar organizations committed to digitizing and providing broadest possible access to books and other materials; over 1.6 million books are already online under OCA principles. OCA is analyzed in contrast with Google Books (as per the preliminary Google Books Settlement, November 2009), using Castell’s network theory and theories of an emerging global public sphere, based on the work of Habermas and Fraser. OCA is seen as a superior network to Google Books, with particular strengths in connectedness, consistency (shared goals), flexibility, scalability, survivability, networking (inclusion / exclusion) power, and network-making power, including the ability to form strategic alliances. The lawsuit against Google Books, and the settlement, illustrate some of the limitations of Google Books as a network, for example the lawsuit per se is a challenge to Google Books’ rights to make decisions on inclusion and exclusion, and illustrates poor connectedness and consistency, two attributes Castells points to as essential to the performance of a network. The respectful, law-abiding approach of OCA is a good fit for a global public sphere, while the Google Books Settlement takes a key issue that has traditionally been decided by governments (orphan books), and brings the decision-making power into private contract negotiations, diminishing democracy. The current Google Books Settlement is fractured on a national (geographic) basis; consequences could include decreased understanding of the rest of the world by a leading nation, the U.S. This works against the development of a global public sphere, and has potential negative economic and security implications for the U.S.. OCA is presented as one node of an emerging library network for the global public sphere, a global public good increasing access to knowledge everywhere, increasing the potential for informed public debate towards global consensus." (ttp://