Australian Poetry Library

There I was, at the conference last week, talking about my age old dream for a site that would allow access to a range of contemporary Australian poetry for a micro-payment and lo and behold, I’m told that such a site already exists.

Called the Australian Poetry Library, the site is funded by the Australian Copyright Agency. They say:

The Australian Poetry Library has been developed to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of Australian poetry by providing access to a wide range of poetic texts, many of which are now out of print, as well as to critical and contextual material relating to them, including interviews, photographs and audio/visual recordings. At present the site contains over 42,000 poems, which can be searched via keywords, and which are also indexed according to some selected poetic forms and main themes. It will be progressively developed over the coming years to include work by more poets, as well as more critical and contextual material.

Through keyword searches the site will allow teachers and/or students to select poems relating to a particular subject or theme that students are studying, and to create their own personal anthologies. Teachers and/or students will be able to download and print poems for a small fee, part of which is returned to the poets via the Copyright Agency Limited. Further reproduction, electronic display, email or other communication is not permitted except in reliance on the statutory licence scheme under Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968

Well worth a look, with thousands of poems available.

World Digital Library Underwhelms

The World Digital Library site has a nice interface and a nice mission


The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

The principal objectives of the WDL are to:

* Promote international and intercultural understanding;
* Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
* Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
* Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

so when I read about it in this morning I had to check it our.

Unfortunately, it’s just beginning. The whole library, hosted by the US Library of Congress, has  holdings in English from the dates 8000BC to now has 1170 items in English.  Eleven hundred. Not million.  There are a grand total of eleven documents from Australia, and three from New Zealand.

The US Library of Congress has over 120 million items, so it’s hard not to be unimpressed with a grand launch of a pathetic 1170. It’s either the old tale of library as ‘gatekeeper’ carefully vetting what we should be allowed to access, or it’s example of snail-paced progress.

Memo to self: come back and look at this site again in ten years!