Books for all

Library consortium to offer free online access to 34 million volumes

The Boston Library Consortium (BLC), of which Tufts University is a member, will partner with the Open Content Alliance to build a freely accessible library of digital materials from all 19 member institutions. The BLC’s digitization efforts will be based at a new scanning center, the Northeast Regional Scanning Center, at the Boston Public Library.

The consortium will offer high-resolution, downloadable, reusable files of public domain materials. Using Internet Archive technology, books from all 19 libraries will be scanned at a cost of 10 cents per page. Collectively, the BLC member libraries provide access to more than 34 million volumes.

The BLC is an association of academic and research libraries in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. In addition to Tufts, the members of the BLC are Boston College, the Boston Public Library, Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown University, the Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MIT, Northeastern University, the State Library of Massachusetts, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, University of Massachusetts at Boston, University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, University of New Hampshire, Wellesley College and Williams College.

The nonprofit Internet Archive was founded in 1996 to build an Internet library, offering permanent access for researchers, historians and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. “Fortunately, many great libraries are weighing the alternatives and choosing to go open instead of putting public domain material under perpetual restrictions,” said Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. The BLC’s digitized books will be hosted by the Internet Archive and available to be indexed by any search engine.

For more information, visit the Open Content Alliance at and the Boston Library Consortium at

This story ran in the October 2007 Tufts Journal.