Earlier this year we released our Open Libraries wish list, which brought together four datasets to help inform our collection development priorities for Open Libraries. After working with the wish list for a few months and reviewing our approach, we decided to make a few revisions to the ways in which we brought together the data. Our wish list was always intended to be an iterative work-in-progress, and we are pleased to release our latest version here: https://archive.org/details/open_libraries_wish_list
What’s in the wish list?
To create the wish list, we brought together four datasets:
- OCLC’s list of one million most widely held books, based on holdings records of libraries worldwide;
- Library Link’s holdings records of North American libraries, leveraging the decisions of thousands of librarians in prioritizing collections for patron use;
- Open Syllabus Project, which has collected syllabi from the Internet to compile the most assigned books in classrooms;
- Data about book and scholarly article citations in Wikipedia, published by the Wikimedia Foundation.
These data help us define a collection of 1.5M books, identified by their ISBNs, that are widely held and frequently cited. We continue to work on human-mediated efforts to identify collections that are reflective of the diverse voices in our communities.
In this latest revision to the wish list, we decided to keep the focus on materials that are widely held and widely cited by fine tuning the thresholds for inclusion on the list in the following ways:
- In our previous wish list, we had included xISBN “synonyms” to the ISBNs on the list as a way of increasing the breadth of materials, but realized that approach created scenarios where we could have digitized a different edition than the one cited by a Wikipedia editor, or included on a syllabus. In the latest revision, we chose to include only the ISBNs included on each list.
- We also revised our approach to the Wikipedia citations, including those books that had been cited more than once.
This latest revision gives us a wish list comprised of 1.5M ISBNs that we feel confident in using as a core collection around which to focus our acquisition and digitization priorities.
How can you help?
If you’d like to help us build our digital collection, you can contribute in the following ways:
- Donate books
- You can donate books to our physical archive. If you are a library, a publisher, or have a private collection with more than 1,000 books to donate, please contact Chris Freeland, Director of Open Libraries, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will add these books to our digitization queue and they will become ebooks available through Open Libraries as funding becomes available.
- Identify books
- If you are an author who would like to add your own books to the list, you can donate physical copies, and/or contact us to let us know you’d like us to ensure that your work will be preserved and available to future generations.
- If you’re a librarian, educator, or other book lover and would like to help us continue to curate the wish list to ensure that it includes the most useful, important and culturally diverse books, please reach out to us.
- Scan books
If you are interested in participating, or have questions about our program or plans, please contact Chris Freeland, Director of Open Libraries, at email@example.com.