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Library of Congress Expands Its Collection of Open Access eBooks

The Library of Congress published a post this past week highlighting their growing collection of open access ebooks.

We are excited to share that anyone anywhere can now access a growing online collection of contemporary open access eBooks from the Library of Congress website. For example, you can now directly access books such as Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks, and Youjeong Oh’s Pop City: Korean Popular Culture and the Selling of Place from the Library of Congress website. All of these books have been made broadly available online in keeping with the intent of their creators and publishers, which chose to publish these works under open access licenses.

A key objective of the Library of Congress digital collecting plan is the development and implementation of an acquisitions program for openly available content. We have previously discussed a number of open access book projects, including open access Latin American books, and open access children’s books. Significantly, the Library of Congress has long been receiving print copies of open access books through multiple routine acquisition streams. These openly licensed works can be made much more broadly accessible in their digital form.

In addition to the LOC’s collection, there are numerous free ebook sites such as Project Gutenberg, the major ebook retailers all have free ebook sections, and a lot of creators have released some of their works for free. This includes textbooks and other curricula that have been released for free as Open Educational Resources.

image by Pierre Blaché via Flickr

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John Adkins March 29, 2020 um 2:47 pm

I was with you right up to your I’ll informed jab against the Internet Archive. Thanks for the info on the LOC.

Nate Hoffelder March 29, 2020 um 2:51 pm


What don’t I know about The Open Library and the IA? Please do enlighten me.

Nathaniel Downes March 30, 2020 um 5:11 pm

This is being handled by the LoC’s digital services partner, the Internet Archive.

Nate Hoffelder March 30, 2020 um 5:15 pm

Which just goes to show there is no need for the IA to distribute other works without permission.

Mike March 31, 2020 um 7:57 pm

Techdirt consistently writes great articles covering attacks against the Internet Archive and Fair Use.

This latest one discussing the Archive’s "National Emergency Library":

and even a year ago:

With libraries forcibly closed because of this pandemic, there’s even a STRONGER case for Fair Use.

Nate Hoffelder March 31, 2020 um 8:12 pm

Sorry, but you’re wrong.

For starters, Mike drastically overstates the legal status of CDL. It is an untested legal theory, not a right, and in fact actual copyright law says that what The Open Library is doing is piracy. Also, The Open Library has stretched CDL far beyond its intended purpose.

Then, on top of the CDL, the IA has piled another untested fair use argument.

While these compounding arguments may win in court, right now what the IA is doing is piracy.

Nate Hoffelder March 31, 2020 um 10:13 pm

CDL is so legal that HaithiTrust is only just now adopting it on an emergency basis.

Free Resources for Your Lockdown Leisure | April 6, 2020 um 5:21 am

[…] Library of Congress: The largest library in the world has select works on offer. […]

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