Yahoo Starts Open Content Alliance – A Library and Archive Digitization Project

As announced at the Yahoo Search Blog and as reported at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Yahoo is now also working on a project to digitize library collections.

The October 3, 2005 article by Scott Carlson and Jeffrey R. Young at the Chronicle points out that Yahoo Inc. has formed the alliance with “the University of California, the University of Toronto, and several archives and technology companies….”

The Open Content Alliance ( was the idea of Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive director. Other alliance participants are Adobe, the European Archive, the National Archives of England, O’Reilly Media, and Hewlett Packard Labs.

In contrast to the Google Print digitization project which is now subject to the lawsuit in Author’s Guild v. Google, on which we have posted previously here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, Yahoo will not scan (digitize?) any copyright books unless copyright holders give explicit permission for them to do so (opt-in).

Several thousands of public domain works have already been scanned, though the quality for the work that we chose to look at first, a work entitled Merlin, which took ages to download, is less than perfect. In addition, these are just mere scans and not digitizations of the text, so that the text of this work is not yet searchable, which is the most important element of any such library project.

And yet, this is already quite interesting reading, for this volume of Merlin is apparently a “lost” public domain Trilogy of Merlin published many years ago, author as yet unkown. It will be interesting to see how this compares with the newer copyrighted Trilogy of Merlin, which has been quite a successful book.

Why not Me? – The Simple Way to the Top

Don’t Mess with Texas.
Harriet Miers, like U.S. President George W. Bush, is a Texan, who then-Governor Bush once described as a “pit bull in size 6 shoes“.
Does being mean pay off?

The White House Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan and Steve Hadley, July 5, 2005, contains the following information about the U.S. Supreme Court nomination selection process:

McCLELLAN: “[T]he President spent a good couple of hours looking over materials about potential nominees to the Supreme Court. This was information that was compiled by Harriet Miers….

Harriet Miers is very involved and has been overseeing the compiling of materials on potential nominees.”

As we now see, Miers’ own curriculum vitae wound up on top of the list.

We have some ethical and moral problems with that, especially for a would-be Justice, but then again, we are not enamored of any of the other discussed candidates. Maybe Miers will be a fine judge – no one really knows.

In any case, it pays to have a powerful mentor:

“Having a mentor is essential for all lawyers’ career advancement. It is especially important for women and minorities.”

The “powerful mentor” path of success sure beats climbing the career ladder in the judiciary and is a successful application of several of the points discussed in Dennis Kennedy’s Twenty Lessons for Lawyers Starting their Careers also found here. [Update, October 4, 2005: Of course, it is clear that Kennedy had an entirely different kind of mentoring in mind in his excellent, very useful article. There is true mentoring, which all of us need – and optimally get – at some point in our lives, and this is what Kennedy is referring to, and then there is this kind of “political mentoring” or political nepotism, which is a horse of another color. The real kind of mentoring is to be applauded, and the latter to be disdained. Of course, I meant this all a bit tongue in cheek, being somewhat aghast at the blatant political nepotism evidenced by this nomination. There are other terms for this latter kind of “mentoring”, not intended by Kennedy, which, unfortunately, is also wide-spread, but I am wont to use those terms on my blog.]

If this is the way to the top, then we should change the law school curriculums and add some new courses ala John Steinbeck:

“It always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, aquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and selfinterest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.”

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