The Open Library

So The Open Library is up and going, and they have a demo site available to try out. This is pretty cool stuff.

But most importantly, such a library must be fully open. Not simply “free to the people,” as the grand banner across the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh proclaims, but a product of the people: letting them create and curate its catalog, contribute to its content, participate in its governance, and have full, free access to its data. In an era where library data and Internet databases are being run by money-seeking companies behind closed doors, it’s more important than ever to be open.

About Open Library

How about their Open Library Number concept! Something akin to an ISBN, but not just for recently published books, every single book ever written! That’s pretty cool.

Obviously, at some point, I’d love to figure out a way to have Tellico interface to the database, either merely by pulling data, or actually submitting or modifying it as well. But that’s certainly way in the future. I’m just pretty astonished at what the people involved with the Open Library have been able to do so far.

I’ve been looking at designing a database schema for Tellico v2 and have had a couple of different approaches so far. The ThingDB schema used by the Open Library seems rather interesting. I wonder how well it will mesh with the FRBR approach.

It’s worth saying that Time Spalding at Library Thing is excited. He’s been a big proponent of book cataloging as a social activity for a while now. I suppose it’s also much like WorldCat, but is obviously designed to be much more free and open with its data and API.

Here’s hoping they really get this off the ground. You should help!