To the Editor:
I was glad to read the extensive coverage that the YDN gave to the University Library’s partnership with Microsoft (“Microsoft Contracted to Digitize Yale Library” 11/9). There is one salient fact that needs to be emphasized, however, in response to the quoted comment by Doron Weber from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. If Weber believes that Yale has not been applying its own resources to digitization, he is misinformed. Our digital collections, accessible from the Library’s Web site are drawn from over 20 different areas of the Library, and now number close to 400,000 images, with more added every day. Most of this digitization activity has been financed by the University itself, while some has been supported by generous donations and grants. Our goal is to make as much of our materials as possible available to a wider public, as well as making it possible for Yale faculty and students to search and use Library resources in new ways. The Microsoft partnership helps to place important materials on the Internet far sooner than we otherwise could and at absolutely no cost for users, whether or not they are affiliated with Yale University.
Our agreement with Microsoft is also non-exclusive, meaning that the Library could partner with organizations like the Open Content Alliance or Google Books in the future. The British Library, the University of California Libraries, and the University of Toronto Libraries are partners with both Microsoft and the Open Content Alliance. This is not an ‘either or’ issue in which libraries should be seen to be taking sides. Instead, we share the common goal of increasing digital access to information, collections and learning.
Prochaska is a Yale University Librarian.