Around 10 years after Directmedia Publishing started to sell electronic text editions on CD, its sister company Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH launched the digital library zeno.org. Yesterday I joined the zeno.org party and I can tell you that the guys know both: how to celebrate, and to keep up with the time and the future of digital libraries!
According to heise Zeno.org probably contains the largest free German fulltext collection on the Web with around 600 Million words. The German Projekt Gutenberg (not to confuse with the English project!) is not much smaller, but its quality much is less (missing sources and page numbers) and the publisher Hille & Partner, tries to put copyright restrictions on it. Zeno.org knows better and explicetely states if a work is in the public domain. However full downloads of large parts of the library are not allowed – so zeno.org is more free then Projekt Gutenberg (DE) and Google Book Search but less free then Wikisource and Project Gutenberg. I wonder how it would fit into the Open Content Alliance.
Somehow between in the jungle of German digitized material and digitization projects there is the Central Index of Digitized Imprints (ZVDD), a portal that was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) according to the principle “Too many cooks spoil the broth”: A large number of texts were digitized in Germany with much money and little use because no simple, consistent infrastructure was provided to distribute and archive the content. It could be so so simple with accessible metadata (OAI-PMH) and persistent identifiers…
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