May I speak Openly about mass digitization?
This blog post, dated 2008, is a mantra for all who believe in open access to the wealth of knowledge rapidly being digitized (and, really, material that is digital native). An interesting aside would be to trace out the path the mentioned partnerships have taken since this article was authored, as well as major partnerships that have developed, to gauge if the author’s wish for openness has been realizing or faltering. While it is apparent that pay walls around digital objects will likely never cease in all forms it is imperative to maintain open access to freely available material. Large businesses like Google and Amazon with vast resources are, of course, ideal and obvious partners for institutions wanting to realize mass digitization efforts efficiently. As the article portended in 2008 the most successful outcome of these partnerships is open, ready access to these digitized materials. The key phrase for our consideration is “useful metadata”, one of the critical factors in making ready access relevant. Without this and other critical aspects the creation or retention of digital material will be restricted in its utility. An example of this phenomenon is in the previous blog post where I considered The Internet Archive and a sophisticated effort to compile a useful research utility from the hoard of information that it has stored. This secondary effort by information professionals refines the utility of the information through the application, among other aspects, “useful metadata” to facilitate effectiveness of the collected material.