“Horses for courses” was my take-home message after reading this month’s newsletter from Peter Suber. It certainly pays to allow room for pragmatism. SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #157
“Imagine a body of literature that is OA in every respect except that it’s offline. It’s still digital, free of charge, and allows unrestricted use, but it’s on a thumb drive rather than a network. If you had that thumb drive in your pocket or plugged into your machine, you’d have free *offline* access rather than free *online* access to that literature. If OA literature must be online, then this isn’t OA. But it’s interesting enough to name and discuss in its own right. Let’s call it OA Prime (OA’).”
Suber then goes on to list x10 advantages and disadvantages of offline OA. One that I wanted to highlight here is:
“You won’t always have stable or adequate connectivity. You may be in an undeveloped region of the world or an underdeveloped region of the developed world. Offline access can be your deliverance.
Since 2000, WiderNet and the eGranary Digital Library have been delivering OA’ on CDs and other physical media to bandwidth-poor parts of the world where OA itself would be impractical or useless. http://www.widernet.org/eGranary/ …
eGranary is far from obsolete or out of business. It recently delivered 2 TB of OA’ literature and software to institutions in Zambia, and installed an OA’ library in Liberia running on a 12 volt battery.”
Very interesting initiative from Iowa University!
The eGranary Digital Library – also known as “The Internet in a Box” – provides millions of digital educational resources to institutions lacking adequate Internet access. Through a process of garnering permissions, copying Web sites, and delivering them to intranet Web servers INSIDE our partner institutions in developing countries and other places aroung the globe, we deliver millions of multimedia documents that can be instantly accessed by patrons over their local area networks at no cost.
To read the whole newsletter visit: SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #157