3.680 Open Book Initiative (138)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Wed, 1 Nov 89 20:50:04 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 680. Wednesday, 1 Nov 1989.

Date: Wed, 1 Nov 89 03:48:00 EST
From: Sebastian Rahtz <spqr@ecs.southampton.ac.uk>

>>>>> On 31 Oct 89 17:33:32 GMT, bzs@world.std.com (Barry Shein) said:



The Open Book Initiative is being formed to make available freely
redistributable collections of information. There exists huge
collections of books, conference proceedings, reference material,
catalogues, etc. which can be freely shared. Some of it is in
machine-readable form, much of it isn't.

The purpose of the Open Book Initiative is to create a publicly
accessible repository for this information, a net-worker's library.

information in the Open Book Repository will be available for free
redistribution. On-line access, magnetic media and other methods of
distribution will involve reasonable charges for the services
provided, not the information.


All on-line materials (other than software collections)
such as books, journals, catalogues, conference proceedings,
magazines, manuals, maps, images, technical documentation,
reference works, etc. The only software we are interested in
is software specific to the viewing, manipulation, searching
and maintenance of information in the repository.

Materials must be free of copyrights limiting redistribution
by us or any individual or organization who receives them. A
copyright ensuring their continued freedom will be assigned to all
materials distributed.

We also need pointers to collections of materials which may
be available. For example, there are government collections of
interesting data which are available at reasonable costs and do
not limit further redistribution of copies obtained.


Beyond machine-readable material there are huge collections
of printed material which could be redistributed if put
on-line. We need people willing to organize informal projects
to scan, type or otherwise get this material on-line for
inclusion in the Open Book Repository.

We need to get in touch with Library and Information
Scientists interested in helping us create formats and structures
for organizing the repository.

We need international participation to help ensure our efforts
are useful to people everywhere.

We need people willing to participate in a Technical Advisory
Board to help us guide our efforts.

We need involvement from academia, industry and governments to
help us enrich this effort without bounds and make available
a first-rate, freely available information utility.

We need involvement from publishers who have materials which
can be included in the Open Book Repository. Many books and
reference works become unprofitable to publish by ordinary paper
means. It's time to make these materials available!

We need involvement from the technical community to choose
and implement multi-media software standards such as hypertext,
mark-up languages, index and catalogue software, text retrieval,
network access methods and more. Standards are critical to our


WORLD.STD.COM is a public access UNIX system which will
serve as the initial repository. It is a Sun4/280 system and
will be expanded as needed.

Anyone can dial into the system and set up an account if
they wish direct access (617-739-WRLD.) Accounts are
charged and proceeds will be used to build the Open Book

UUCP and other links will be available for the redistribution
of collections. We will also make collections available on
magnetic media for reasonable copying charges.


If you think you can help or want more information send
electronic mail to:


Or call us at Software Tool & Die, 617-739-0202. Or
drop by our office and chat if you're in the area: 1330
Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02146.


This started as an informal discussion group which called
themselves "The KiloMonkeys Project" (``Strong Typing For Weak
Minds'') who wanted to figure out how to get useful materials
on-line and generally available. I have decided to make
Software Tool & Die a home for this activity and formalize the
project under the new name "The Open Book Initiative."

-- -Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die, Purveyors to the Trade | bzs@world.std.com
1330 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02146, (617) 739-0202 | {xylogics,uunet}world!
+ bzs

[This note originally arrived with a > in the first column of every
non-blank line. While I am sure that there are very good reasons for
these brambly things, I have an intense dislike for them and have
carefully deleted every single one. Quotation marks have the decency to
announce themselves and then go away until the very end. These things
nudge you in the ribs every few words, like someone you will never again
invite to dinner. So, please, send them somewhere else. My delete key
gets enough exercise. --W.M.]