Monday, November 21, 2005

Microsoft to open Office document format

News Story by Simon Taylor and Elizabeth Montalbano
November 21, 2005

"Microsoft Corp. today said it will offer its Word, Excel and PowerPoint document formats as open standards, a move that could spark a war with technology rivals over standard document formats.

Microsoft said it would submit its Office Open XML document format technology to the International Standards Organization (ISO) to be adopted as an international standard in time for the launch of the next version of its Office software suite, code-named Office 12."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Preservation Readings 4 November 2005

Microsoft Launches Book Digitization Project—MSN Book Search. Barbara Quint. Information Today. October 31, 2005.

Microsoft has begun a book digitization project. Initially it will focus on public domain books and rely on the Internet Archive for the digitization. Microsoft plans to expand the content to include academic materials, periodicals, and other resources. They plan to digitize 150,000 books, which would be available in 2006 as part of the MSN Book Search. Eventually, Microsoft plans to work with copyright owners to legally scan materials. They also plan to create a way for a publisher to add content into its system.

Open formats make history - and maintain it. Gervase Markham. Times Online. October 18, 2005.,,9075-1831039,00.html

“Open data formats will be the key to safeguarding tomorrow's historical documents.” Open formats are those that are “made available without restriction.” Closed formats are those that have patents or licensing restrictions, or are undocumented. One problem with closed formats is use restrictions. Another is obsolescence. Open formats give people full control of their data. The Massachusetts decision to require open formats will be seen as the turning point for open formats.

Commission unveils plans for European digital libraries. European Community Press Release. 30 September 2005.

“The European Commission today unveiled its strategy to make Europe’s written and audiovisual heritage available on the Internet.” This will not be an easy task. There is a large volume of materials, in many languages, and of many different types. The three key areas for action are: digitization, online accessibility and digital preservation. These will include an online survey of digitizing and digital preservation issues, collaboration among the members, and research on access and digital preservation.

Open Content Alliance Rises to the Challenge of Google Print. Barbara Quint. Information Today. October 3, 2005.

Google’s efforts to digitize books have spurred others to create their own initiatives. The Open Content Alliance (OCA) has just been announced. This group intends to create an international network of information partners to bring digitized materials to the web. The founding members include the Internet Archive; Yahoo; Hewlett-Packard; Adobe; the University of California; the University of Toronto; the European Archive; the UK National Archives; O’Reilly Media, Inc.; and Prelinger Archives. The Internet Archives will host the permanent repository. The principle is that all content will be open to all search engines. Content will be in pdf and other accepted formats. They hope to work with libraries and commercial sources and resolve legal or other issues. It will only add information that is either public or for which they have approval. The content will be more “library-like, as opposed to an archive.” They do not claim to have all the answers, but this provides a place where the parties can work together to find solutions. Digitizing is sharing with others. Main website is at:

Open Content Alliance Expands Rapidly; Reveals Operational Details. Barbara Quint. Information Today. October 31, 2005.

The Open Content Alliance has added many new members to the Open Library project, including universities, Microsoft , RLG, and others. These members have committed to donating services, facilities, tools, and/or funding. RLG will be contributing bibliographic metadata. The technology to create this has existed for years, but “the money, the labor, and the legal problems are the touchy part.” The interface models a book with page turning software. They hope publishers will realize that “proprietary control over content is an impediment to commerce.”