National Library of the Netherlands discloses its Google Books Contract

After the successful disclosure of the agreement between the British Library and Google Books on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act, the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) also disclosed their agreement with Google Ireland today. Albeit the director of the KB tweeted a day ago that not all public information needed to be available on the Web, it was decided to publish the agreement on the Web since there were two WOB (a Dutch version of FOIA) procedures underway to get insight in the agreement.

Albeit I am not a lawyer, a few thins caught my eye. The agreement is very similar to the agreement between Google and the British Library. Bert Zeeman pondered the idea of standard Google contracts in this respect. This seems to go for the exception of the number of volumes in the public domain that will be digitized, 250,000 in the UK and 160,000 in the Netherlands (clause 2.1).

What struck me as interesting was the use of the libraries digital copies, clause 4.8 “the library may provide all or any portion of the library digital copy… to (a) academic institutions or research or public libraries, ….” But we are not able to “providing search or hosting services substantially similar to those provided by Google, including but not limited to those services substantially similar to Google book search”. I guess that leaves out the other academic libraries in the Netherlands to include these digital copies in their discovery tools. It is tempting, but I see problems on the horizon. We seem to be left with separate information silos whereas integration with the rest of the collection would be really interesting. It becomes more explicit in clause 4.9 where it is stated that “nothing in this agreement restricts the library from allowing Europeana to crawl the standard metadata of the digital copies provided to library by Google.” We would be more interested in the data rather than the metadata.

But then again, it is up to the lawyers to see what’s allowed and what’s not. But then again, again, after fifteen years all restrictions on the use or distribution terminate (clause 4.7), a bit long according to the open rights group. However, we have experience with building academic library collections, it takes ages. Those fifteen years are over in the wink of a young girl’s eye.

Do publishers take electronic books seriously?

A while ago John Dupuis did a great post on Ebook business models. In the comments a few additional suggestions were made to improve on his really well thought list of bullet points. Today I ran into yet another addition for his list.

Elsevier send their fourth installment of the Books Connect newsletter. As a Life Science institution we are certainly interested in their new Encyclopedia of Ecology. When you follow the link to the website for this reference work you end up on a site that only refers to the paper edition of this encyclopedia. No mention of an electronic version. This explains the title in the post, does this publisher take ebooks seriously?

When we want to grow the acceptance of ebooks, the reference works are the ideal place to start. Quick reference, fact finding, ideal in the electronic format. Exactly what our users scattered all over Wageningen and far beyond want.

Okay, backtrack for a moment. Look again at the BooksConnect newsletter. There is this banner add on the newsletter that says “available 2008 on ScienceDirect“. have a look at that and you’ll be disappointed again. The encyclopedia is not to be found on the page for reference works nor on the page of forthcoming reference works. Simply it is not there. Which is a pity.

So another bullet on the list for John would be:

  • e-books should be published on time. They should become at least available when the print edition is published. Preferably an electronic edition should be available before the paper edition comes out.