Open Content Alliance
The Open Content Alliance (OCA) is an attempt by several global organizations to consolidate digital content, including multimedia content, from libraries and publishers of culture, history, and technology into one place for everyone. "The massive digitization program launched by the Open Content Alliance and backed by Yahoo!, the Internet Archive, and a network of libraries, publishers, academics, and other large content providers could rival Google Print," explains Barbara Quint, editor of Searcher magazine. Other contributors to the OCA include the European Archive, National Archives (UK), and O'Reilly Media. The metadata for all content in the OCA will be exposed publicly through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting and RSS. "Most importantly," says Quint, "the emergence of the OCA means that the concept of ‘total digital archiving' has been endorsed by those able and willing to commit resources capable of doing the job."
The goal of OpenOffice.org is "to create, as a community, the leading international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format." Despite being acquired by Sun Microsystems in 1999, the project stays true to its roots and still provides a free office suite, though they emphasize that they offer "not only a product, but a process." Sun continues to sponsor development on OpenOffice.org and is the primary contributor of code to OpenOffice.org. "This open source office suite with XML support has gone from curiosity to possibly the David who might slay—or at least significantly wound—the Microsoft Office Goliath," says Robert Boeri, EContent contributing editor. OpenOffice.org supports not only user's native computer language but their native tongue as well. "If Microsoft uses XML only to represent its internal Office product representations, and OpenOffice.org allows writers to mix-and-match schemas as they choose, this story could be very big," Boeri says.
As grassroots journalism becomes more and more a part of mainstream media, Ourmedia provides a place not only for the everyday person with a story to tell but for creative people who want to store their work for an infinite amount of time. "This is a Web site for people to share text, art, music, spoken word, whatever," says Ron Miller, EContent contributing editor, who emphasizes that the site has even larger aspirations. "They actually hope to build a whole Internet tool set and infrastructure to build similar sharing spaces." Ourmedia allows users to post and browse audio and video and blogs . . . for free. Made possible by Drupal, an open source content management platform, their hosted service gives users unlimited bandwidth to store media for an unlimited time. Mom always said it's good to share with others.
Just as air is free and accessible for everyone, scholarly and scientific research should be too, says Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group whose intentions are to keep an eye on legislation in Congress—more specifically, legislation that will monitor, or restrict, policy relating to intellectual property or technology policy. A major project for Public Knowledge is Open Access, whose primary initiative is putting scholarship, especially that part funded by taxpayers, in free online journals. Open Access revolves around the debate: should this particular content be free, accessible, both, or neither? "Most scientific journals are still published privately," says Bob Doyle, EContent contributing editor. Doyle notes that as a result of the private publishing, only the "best-funded academic institutions" can provide copies to students and faculty. Peter Suber, the Open Access project director at Public Knowledge, says of Open Access that "it is compatible with copyright law and does not require that content be put into public domain." Doyle believes in the idea behind Suber's Open Archives and compares its concept of open Web-based publishing with Wikipedia, emphasizing "the significant advance that OA articles are signed by their authors."