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Web Access to Works in the Public Domain

BEAT is excited to announce a new initiative to link LC bibliographic records to full text electronic copies of these same cataloged materials residing in collections of other institutions. Though these works, all in the public domain, have been digitized by various institutions, many of the original printed works are also in the collections of the Library of Congress. By linking LC catalog records to these electronic versions the Library expects to provide users with more unified and centralized access to materials of this nature as well as provide users of the LC collections or of LC catalog data rich and substantive information about the contents of these works as well as access to their texts.

In order for records to qualify for enhancement in these projects, the electronic versions have to be an exact version of a print version represented in the Library�s collection, as established by the presence of an Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) for the electronic version that matches the LCCN for the print version.

In this project, the LC catalog record is modified to add an 007 field indicating a computer resource, to add a note for the existence of a digital reproduction (in a 530 field presenting information that the item is available in a different physical form), and to create an 856 linking field that points to a meta-level description record at the holding institution. In turn, that meta record provides links that allow the researcher to browse the full text itself. These operations are accomplished as a result of a program written by David Williamson, cataloging automation specialist. Some but not all of these modified LC catalog records are redistributed, depending on whether access points and other details are in conformance with AACR2.

The applications are the result of cooperative agreements with the following institutions, which along with links to the project titles are:

Partner Project Title
University of Michigan Making of America
California Digital Library eScholarship Texts
Cornell University Making of America
Harvard University Library Women Working 1870-1930
Indiana University Wright American Fiction
Indiana University Victorian Women Writers
RAND Corporation Rand Documents
Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland United States Commission on Civil Rights
University of Wisconsin University of Wisconsin Digital Collections

University of Michigan (for materials digitized in its Making of America project), described at For the University of Michigan materials, it proved possible to enhance 1,267 LC bibliographic records, and for the Indiana University project 653 LC bibliographic records were linked to the online versions.

Access to the Michigan site and a sample is available here. Indiana University Works comprising its Wright American Fiction, 1851-1875 project), are described at

The California Digital Library is the most recent addition to the project, and BEAT has linked to the 379 eScholarship texts that have been made publically available through the Library. An example of how users can access such material directly from the LC OPAC is illustrated here. If a search is made in the LC Online Catalog, and if the resulting data contains a link to the full electronic text, users will see the notation Links: in the record's display. For example, a search on Litvak, Joseph Caught in the Act: Theatricality in the Nineteenth-Century English Novel will show the LC record. And, the link in the LC record (such as Links: will take the reader to the full text at the California Digital Library.

BEAT has also added links to bibliographic records for more than 35 titles from Indiana University's Victorian Women Writers Project. This additional collaboration with Indiana University links to items in a project that aims "to produce highly accurate transcriptions of works by British women writers of the 19th century, encoded using ... SGML. The works ... include anthologies, novels, political pamphlets, religious tracts, children's books and volumes of poetry and verse drama."

For further information about the Project, see:

Cornell University has recently facilitated access to titles digitized in its "Making of America" project, and LC is linking to records that match items contained in the Library's collections. Thus far, 78 links have been made from the LC catalog to full-text digitized works at Cornell.

The following links will take the reader to two samples linked to the Cornell full-text items. Near the bottom of each record there is a Links: section. Clicking on the link address (such as will take the reader to the Cornell full text record. The two sample records are records are for Laws and ordinances of New Netherland, 1638-1674 dealing with the History of New York in the Colonial period and to The life of Thomas Hutchinson, royal governor of the province of Massachusetts Bay

Beginning with approximately 230 titles represented in the Library's collections, links have now been made to 864 titles in The Harvard University Library Open Collections Program's Women Working 1870-1930. The Open Collections Program aims to "increase the availability and use of historical resources for teaching, learning, and research by digitizing selected resources in broad topic areas and providing access to them through the World Wide Web and the Harvard Library catalogs," and Women Working 1870-1930 provides access to digitized books and other materials on the topic of women in the U.S. economy from 1870 to 1930. BEAT will continue to add links as additional works in this project are digitized.

A sample record for Henry E. Downey's History of labor Legislation in Iowa that links to Women Working, 1870 - 1930 can be viewed from here (When the catalog record is displayed, click on "Links."

Another partner is the RAND Corporation, for whichover 680 links have been made to RAND publications via the RAND Web site <>. (An example may be found in the LC catalog for LCCN 2002024809 (or by searching the Library's OPAC for the title "Protecting the homeland" by Richard Brennan) that links to the full text of the document at

For the Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland over 140 links have been made to publications of the United States Commission on Civil Rights digitized by the Thurgood Marshall Law Library, University of Maryland at <>. An example may be found in the LC catalog by searching LCCN 283602759 (or by searching the title "Accommodating the spectrum of individual abilities�) which links to :

With the cooperation of the University of Wisconsin, specifically with the University's Digital Collections (UWDC) initiative, LC is adding links to items digitized by UWDC. To date (June 2005) LC has been able to link to 130 publications in these collections. UWDC's mission is to "provide quality digital resources from its academic libraries to University of Wisconsin faculty, staff and students, citizens of the state, and scholars at large," and titles cover a variety of topics and chronological periods. These include not only items of importance with particular reelevance to Wisconsin history and society, and also cover a wide range of topics in the arts, world cultures and society, literature and so on. For a listof the digital collections readers may link to the collections at <>

Some samples of materials linked from the LC collections include the following titles and LC card numbers:

As in all the BEAT projects for works in the public domain, links to these digitized materials are made for items in the LC collections that meet requirements insuring that LC editions match the digitized items, thus insuring that the print version at LC is an exact match with electronic version available remotely.

The Library is interested in joining with other trusted partners in linking printed and digitized texts. Prospective partners are invited to contact BEAT chair, John D. Byrum, at [email protected]

This page updated on June 24, 2005

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