The Open Content Alliance (OCA) is a consortium of non-profit and for-profit groups dedicated to building a free archive of digital text and multimedia. It was announced in October 2005 by Yahoo! and the Internet Archive. The OCA has portrayed itself as a response to what it sees as Google Book Search's closed nature. The OCA aims to keep works in the public domain on-line. These results will then be used in the search results of participating search engines. The OCA uploads books by process of book scanning.

OCA's approach to seeking permission from copyright holders differs significantly from that of Google Book Search. OCA intends to digitize copyrighted works only after asking and receiving permission from the copyright holder ("opt-in"). By contrast, Google Book Search plans to digitize copyrighted works unless explicitly told not to do so by November 1, 2005 ("opt-out"), and contends that digitizing for the purposes of indexing is fair use.

Also starting in October 2005, the Open Library website ( is hosted by the Internet Archive as a display window for books that have been scanned by the Alliance. Another announcement in July 2007 revealed a new project under the same name (, with the ambitious long-time goal of collecting and uniting catalog data for all books in the world, whether scanned by the Alliance or not. This cataloging project is headed by Aaron Swartz.

Microsoft had a special relationship with the Open Content Alliance. Microsoft joined the Open Content Alliance at its start in 2005. A year after joining, Microsoft added a restriction that prohibits a book it has digitized from being included in commercial search engines other than Microsoft’s (ie. Google), although other search engines are free to point users to the material, just not full-text searches. In addition unlike Google Books, there are no restrictions on the distribution of the Microsoft scanned copies for academic purposes across institutions.[1] Between about 2006 and 2008 Microsoft scanned over 300,000 books which were contributed to the collection, as well as financial support and scanning equipment. On May 23, 2008 Microsoft announced it would be ending the Live Book Search project and no longer scanning books.[2] Microsoft made its scanned books available without contractual restriction and made the scanning equipment available to its digitization partners and libraries to continue digitization programs.[2]

Contributors[edit | edit source]

The following organizations have contributed to the OCA:

Biodiversity Heritage Library, a cooperative project of:

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]


External links[edit | edit source]

News Articles

Blog Posts

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  1. "Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web", by Katie Hafner, The New York Times, October 22, 2007
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Book search winding down", Live Search Blog. Official announcement from Microsoft. Last accessed May 23, 2008.
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