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Prelinger Library: "appropriation-friendly" & public domain material

Prelinger Library LogoThe Prelinger Library is a privately funded public library in San Francisco founded in 2004 and operated by Rick Prelinger and his spouse Megan Shaw Prelinger. It is an "appropriation-friendly", browsable collection of approximately some 50,000 books, periodical volumes and printed ephemera. In partnership with the Internet Archive, the Prelinger Library is currently organizing an online collection of public domain materials in key subject areas. [30Jan09]

Some of those subjects include: regional, urban, social, and cultural history; the North American landscape; natural history; cultural relationships to nature; the history of industry, manufacturing, and extraction of raw materials; advertising, marketing and consumerism. Its Digital Collections Page has now reached 3,516 fully downloadable digital books, much of them in the public domain (and the copyright status of many items has been checked).

The online related collections include the Prelinger Archives, with over 2,100 films available, a small part of the 60,000 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films collected since 1983; and the Prelinger Archive Mashups, with over 200 art and video mashups of the almost 2,000 ephemeral public domain films freely available in the archive (probably thousands more are uploaded on other video sites).

In the actual library, users are encouraged to reuse text and images in their own works and projects. Scanners, digital cameras, and CD/DVD burners will be available so that visitors can make digital copies of items of interest and take them home. There will be no charge for using the collections, though we are exploring charging for commercial reuse of the materials so as to recover some of our expenses.

More info on the Prelinger Library website.

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