A brief status update on the digitization and public access project

We are nearing completion of the digitization of the Catalog of Copyright Entries with online availability through the Internet Archive.   645 CCE volumes are now available at http://www.archive.org/details/copyrightrecords/ ranging from the very first publication in 1891 up to and including 1978 and these cover all classes of works and all renewals.  A few volumes are still in process due to their size which will require additional preparation prior to scanning.

The 1978 volumes have been included because they contain entries for pre-1978 registrations that were not complete at the time of publication of the 1977 CCE’s.  These entries appear in a separate section at the end of each volume.  All registrations made under the Copyright Law that went into effect on January 1, 1978 are available online at the Copyright Office website:  http://www.copyright.gov/records/.

Scanning of the cards in the Copyright Card Catalog is continuing with completion of cards back to1955 expected in a few months.  Based on the positive feedback to the recent posts about a virtual card catalog, we are also researching how to best construct such a catalog using derivative images from these scans.

Study and testing of the use of optical character recognition (OCR) to capture data from the card images is proceeding as well as the feasibility of using crowd sourcing.  Some of the records will lend themselves to these processes and some probably won’t.  We’ve also recently engaged several staff from all parts of the Copyright Office to assist on a volunteer basis with analysis of the card formats to determine ways to parse out the titles and the author and claimant names in order to produce index terms for a full online search capability.  It remains our ultimate goal to provide a search capability that spans both pre-1978 and post-1977 records and that supports searching by title and name with means to narrow the results to the particular item of interest.  Work is proceeding on a demonstration model of such a database and we hope to provide you with access to that model in the not too distant future to obtain your feedback and comments.

Progress is being made on both the preservation and the access fronts and we’ll keep you posted on new developments.  In the meantime your input is most welcome and most appreciated.

A virtual Copyright card catalog? Maybe not a bad idea.

This is a follow-up to my post of two weeks ago about making images of the pre-1978 Copyright catalog cards available online for searching just as one would search the physical cards.  More comments came in about that post than any previous one and the overall reaction was very positive.  We very much appreciate the feedback.  …

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