Re: Free Access vs. Open Access

From: Christopher Warnock <>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 22:41:44 -0700


Thank you for your reply. You have provided me a valuable insight as to
how we may be perceived within the academic and library communities.

I would like to possibly clarify some things about ebrary because it
seems, that in this instance, we are being equated with a capability of
a specific business model we support within our system and not with the
functionality of the technology behind the product that enables it.

The primary advantage that ebrary provides our partners and customers
is flexible control over how documents are distributed, and the
speed/cost in which the documents may be made available through our
services over the Internet. The controls over the documents range from
very restrictive access models to completely open access models
incorporating any variation of viewing, copying, printing or
downloading. Ebrary's goal is to provide a flexible and cost-effective
on-line publishing solution for documents.

That we do not yet have public databases providing examples for
downloadable files is unfortunate, considering that we do support the
downloading of files. Any document submitted to ebrary may be
downloaded if it is what the publisher desires, we support both
protected downloads that provide copyright protection and open
downloads that meet your previously stated requirements. Based upon
your comments we will remedy this, we clearly are not adequately
demonstrating our capabilities.

Ebrary does not restrict access to harvesters either, the issue has
been that the information that we currently have in our system is
copyrighted, and having indexers create caches that may then be
accessible in HTML contradicts the publisher's desires to protect their
author's text and eliminates the copyright protection that has made
them willing to make their content accessible online through us at all.
If the file is available for download, any internet search engine may
index it. In fact any Internet search engine may index our publisher's
copyrighted holdings so long as they agree not to undermine the
publisher's desires to protect their content.

With regard to reducing the value of the research and the benefits of
unfettered access, what we are trying to do is to enable the
information that is copyrighted and made accessible by the publisher to
seamlessly interact with the information that is made available by
institutions, or individuals-- essentially enabling and facilitating a
virtual collaboration between the publisher, the institution and the

The software that we have developed essentially builds databases from
documents at the rate of 6,000,000 + pages per week or 24,000,000 pages
per month at our current capacity. Admittedly we do not operate at this
capacity yet but the advantage of how we have built our system enables
us to scale our operations quickly. Another advantage of what we have
built is that through documents submitted to our system, each
institution may have access to their own collection of their content as
well as aggregate their content with other institution's collections.
This enables any ebrary enabled database to be integrated with any
non-ebrary database and any other ebrary enabled commercial databases
of copyrighted information with access levels that are appropriate to
the publisher's interests. This ability to build custom databases form
any other set of distinct databases enables individuals and
institutions to create unique compilations of documents based on their
research needs. I personally find that this is difficult to explain and
is much better served by a demonstration.

There are a number of features that ebrary supports that are also of
benefit to the researcher, but my intent is not to try to sell our
system but instead offer what information is necessary to correct what
is most probably a misperception that is common in the field.

We are in the process of establishing a focus group to help us define
the requirements of our software for this community. If you are willing
I would appreciate it if you would consider being a part of our focus
group. This would enable us to benefit from your perceptions of what is
needed and enable you to have some of your requirements implemented in
in future releases of our software. Individuals participating in this
focus group will have the opportunity to have their institution
participate in a pilot program at the completion of the focus groups.
If this is of interest to you please let me know and I will have Marty
contact you.

Stevan, thank you very much again for your comments. I view my coming
across your article as serendipitous based upon what we are trying to
do. I hope that you will participate in our focus group.

Best regards,

Christopher Warnock
Received on Thu Aug 28 2003 - 06:41:44 BST

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