At CRL’s 2016 Council of Voting Members meeting the question was posed, “Should more CRL digital resources be Open Access?” (Restrictions now in place make many materials digitized by CRL accessible only to researchers at member institutions.) Attendees said yes: they strongly endorsed removal of all restrictions on public domain materials digitized by CRL. CRL’s Board of Directors agreed. Therefore:
As of January 1, 2017, all digital materials hosted on the web by CRL, that derive from source materials in the public domain or for which CRL has secured the requisite rights and permissions, will be available without restriction. Further, CRL will no longer limit access to public domain materials digitized by CRL or under CRL auspices. Materials not known to be in the public domain and for which CRL has not secured the requisite rights and permissions, however, will remain available only to researchers at member libraries to the extent that fair use allows.
This decision has important implications for CRL, and the move will be a big step in CRL’s evolution. A new post on the Common Knowledge blog explains why.