Regarding our earlier discussion of copyright issues and numismatic publishing, reader Anne Bentley of the Massachusetts Historical Society forwarded the following information about a useful new source of information on book copyrights. Thanks!
The Copyright Review Management System project, at the University of Michigan has taken on the task of identifying books published in the United States from 1923 to 1963 that have entered into the public domain. The works that they find to be in the public domain, they are digitizing and adding to the HathiTrust Free Library catalog for all to access.
Since 2007, the University of Michigan has devoted staff in its Technical Services Division to determining the copyright status of such works. The CRMS project is meant to build on that experience by increasing the reliability of copyright status determinations, creating a point of collaboration for other institutions, and ultimately aiding in the process of making vast numbers of additional books available online to the general public.
The project is currently in Phase Two, which is scheduled to run from June 2009 through May 2010. Version 1.0 of the CRMS was released on July 10, 2009. Last reported, Technical Services staff have reviewed over 14,000 volumes in the HathiTrust Digital Library using the CRMS. Of those volumes, over 8000 (approximately 58%) have been determined to be in the public domain.
The texts of those volumes are now publicly accessible via Mirlyn (Michigan's OPAC - http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu) as well as in the HathiTrust Digital Library (http://catalog.hathitrust.org/). Two reviewers now review each volume, and an expert arbitrator makes a final determination for any conflicting reviews.
Currently CRMS is hard at work developing version 2.0 of the CRMS. Development and testing is scheduled through the spring, with a target release date of May 2010. They are also preparing to train and add reviewers from three other institutions (Indiana University, University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin), who will be joining the project starting this summer.
For more detailed information on the project, here is a link to the project website:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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