Library of Congress and Microsoft

Casey Durfee, who works over at LibraryThing, posted about the Library of Congress’ new agreement with Microsoft. He makes several good points about vendor lock-in, and the availability of publicly-funded data.

Most disturbingly, users are locked in, too: anybody using an iPhone, an old version of Windows, any version of Linux, or any other operating system or device not supported by Silverlight will be unable to use the Library of Congress’ new website. How is that compatible with the principles of democracy or librarianship? It’s taxation without web presentation. And how exactly is that a quantum leap forward? (If the LOC really wanted to make a quantum leap, it would open up its data.)

No kidding! There are plenty of ways to add whiz-bang to websites, without sacrificing accessibility (in both the OS and the disabilities sense). Silverlight won’t run on Linux, simple as that, no matter how much Microsoft touts it as a “cross-platform” plug-in. Shame on the LIbrary of Congress.