Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Well, it’s official: We have launched our documentary blog for our public domain and orphan works project, free*the*books. We invite you to view and post comments! Our new blog is focused on research by the University of Texas Libraries about international copyright laws that control the use and distribution of digitized books online.

As a Google Library Partner, UT Libraries will digitize over a million books from its rich collections within the next six years. Digitization of 800,000 books in the Benson Latin American Collection began in June of this year followed by this companion project to develop an authoritative process for determining the copyright status of books published in various Latin American countries and to identify foreign works in the public domain.

We have found little guidance to help us reliably identify which of our books are already in the public domain so we are piloting a project to develop new tools for ourselves and for anyone who wants to tackle these difficult public domain problems. We will document our process, our progress and our results on the blog’s pages along with links to web resources we find useful.

The initial pages of the blog include online resources to determine critical author birth and death data, prototypes of legal evidence tables and draft guidelines by which books, wherever published, may be determined to be in the public domain.

We will be adding features, more pages and new posts to the blog on a regular basis and from time to time will also have guest contributors to add variety and fresh perspectives. We invite suggestions and comments from other Google Library Partners and anyone undertaking similar or related projects.

Email us at or IM us at our Meebo widget in the sidebar of the blog. We are here; we are building an evidence base and we are looking for virtual partners!

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