Index Data has launched a new service to help libraries expose open content resources to their users. The initial phase of this service offers ebooks, open access digital repositories, encyclopedia articles, and human-reviewed Internet resources. This service is being offered without charge. It is powered by Zebra and Metaproxy, two open source software programs developed by Index Data.
"It has long been on our mind to find ways to better leverage the growing repositories of free, open content within libraries and related organizations," notes Sebastian Hammer, Index Data's CEO. "We feel that open standards have a key role to play in this: to make it easy to integrate such resources into the information landscapes that we are all building for our users."
Using standard search protocols such as SRU and Z39.50, libraries will be able to make open content part of their own information portals, federated search systems, catalogs etc. Additional background information and connection instructions are available at www.indexdata.com/opencontent. The initial open content being offered consists of the following resources:
- Ebooks from the Open Content Alliance
- Ebooks from Project Gutenberg
- Internet resources selected for review by the Open Directory Project
- OAI-compliant resources, the metadata of which has been harvested by OAIster
- Wikipedia articles
"We will continue to seek out new resources that we can enable for access in this way, and we welcome suggestions and participation from others," noted Hammer. "We encourage all of you to let us know how you are using these services. And if you have ideas for new resources or can help us with metadata harvesting or assist this initiative in any other way, we welcome your involvement."
As an example of the benefits of being able to metasearch open resources, we are making freely available a pre-release demo version of Index Data's MasterKey search tool that has these open content resources as targets.