Friday, May 01, 2009

Open Access Pioneer Award: Rick Prelinger, Image Access

Just saw an interesting article in the UC Davis "Dateline" newsletter about Rick Prelinger who is the founder of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco (and see their blog here). He gave a talk at Davis and thus they wrote an article about him here.

Some good lines from the article include
Rick Prelinger’s biggest thrill is “mainstreaming" historical documents for public consumption.

But getting history into the hands of the average citizen is no easy task, the archivist says.

Overbearing copyright issues and rampant commercialism, he argues, threaten the free exchange of information on which a knowledge society — especially its libraries — depends.


Rather than concern themselves with rigid lending policies or copyright protections, library systems should focus on “more product, less process” to better serve patrons, Prelinger said.


“If the Google book deal is approved without any changes, we could soon lose 100 million books that society doesn’t know what to do with,” said Prelinger, referring to “orphan works,” or works under copyright, but whose owner is not known.

On the other hand, archives are empowering, Prelinger said. “Let’s open up the past. Interesting things happen when we do so.”

In general since Prelinger has been pushing for more openness in libraries and in images, I am giving him an "Open Access Pioneer Award".  Sorry I missed the talk but glad I read the article.  


  1. Besides the physical library, Prelinger has a bunch of ephemeral films up at the Internet Archive.

    There's a lot of interesting stuff up there -- my favorite has J.B.S. Haldane (back in the early 1940s when he was a card-carrying Communist besides being a great geneticist) introducing an almost assuredly faked display of Soviet biological "technology" used to reanimate dead dogs. I am not making this up.

    Experiments in the Revival of Organisms

  2. Holy resuscitated cow - that is amazing.