Friday, June 17, 2011

Happiness is Open Access to Knowledge

There is a lot of talk lately about Copyright protection to knowledge.  Really, it comes down to money - who can control and profit from books and other materials. Gatekeeping :) I have been following the academic debate in the Chronicle of Education regarding this topic and how it is harming research, and the sharing of knowledge, in general.  You also may be interested in a few of these articles:
I believe happiness is linked to our ability to freely have access to and explore knowledge.  This is why I have only published articles with journals that allow for free access to their content.  It is quite seriously a stance I decided on back when I started to publish, and it comes down to my personal ethics and beliefs regarding access to information.  With that said, I thought I would suggest some great sites to go to explore the tradition of free access to information - for the sake of spreading happiness.

The original masters of unfettered access to knowledge and information; Gutenberg started it all and we all have benefited for years now - that you Gutenberg!  I had my first ebook reader back in 2001 when I was attending Rollins College, and I was able to load this old beauty, a Rocket Ebook reader, with all my classical required reading from Gutenberg.  Now they cater to all different platforms of readers, including: kindle, nook, pdf, iphone, androids - you name it!  Consider giving them donations and showing your love for their forward thinking about knowledge and access to knowledge! 

Google Books

My students are in awe when they discover how to really use this resource and for good reason! Google Books is awesome and except for the fact that their reader software does NOT allow for annotation, highlighting and note taking (seriously Google?!?), the book project and the free books rival that of any online library, including the Gutenberg project.  It is because of Google books that I was able to have easy access to a great deal of interesting and important historical research for my book on the Magdalene Laundries!  You can search and do research using Google books and, for scholars, how can this not make us happy! 

Just for fun, here is a Google Book Search on Happiness - this search includes all books, even those you have to pay for!

Here is a Google Book Search on Happiness for only those texts that are free to read - again a treasure trove!
Happiness is a well researched topic!

Open Library

Open Library is also a happy place!

Here is a general search on happiness via Open Library - again a great resources.  Lots of ebooks here in several formats including DAISY - a format for people who cannot read print but locked DAISY books can only be accessed through a key issued by the Library of Congress NLS program.

National Academic Press

The National Academic Press has recently offered several of their publications, 4000, in PDF forms and are free to download and read!    If you are into the sciences, this is a place for you!

Scribd is a social publishing site that is rather neat.  Lots of free content here from many different forms of texts, from notes taken at a course, to books, and so on.  Worth a gander!

These are only a few of the many resources out there to help improve our knowledge base - and allows for free access to content. Do you have a suggestion for another site?  Let me know since I am thinking of dedicating a page with links to all these sites.


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