Open Content Alliance a Sight for Sore Eyes

    October 4, 2005

Yahoo and others have announced a plan to digitize and make accessible library materials; a plan similar to the controversial Google Print initiative.

What’s different about this plan appears to be a subtle difference in tone and pacing. The project starts with public domain material and material that authors and copyright holders “opt in” to making available. Google’s plan was “opt out.”

Perhaps it’s now clear why recently I read two quite equivocal pieces on this general topic; one in the University of Toronto alumni magazine and another on the editorial page of the Monday Globe and Mail. The “on one hand, but on the other” treatment wasn’t far off, now that we see where things are headed.

The University of Toronto is a major founding member of the OCA. With a few subtle tweaks, the idea of making information accessible now looks slightly more respectful of authors’ rights. Yahoo comes off looking like “Mr. Nice Guy.”

Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients’ paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded, an acclaimed “guide to portals” which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.