Thursday, February 03, 2005

Free e-library

MelbournePhilosopher

A while back a friend and I had what I considered a fruitful, if heated, discussion about how to best provide free e-texts to the world.

Well, as a part of melbournephilosophy.com, I have been trying to provide a decent repository of free texts, and have had some small success, but nothing like what I'd like :)

It seems like I basically have to do all the work myself. A few people were kind enough to provide content, but as easy as a wiki is to use, most people still don't use that functionality. I've even had only two defacements, both of which were easy to fix from archives. I think I need a submission form and more structure than the wiki allows.

I would like to present a kind of unified front to the free content - maybe give it a unique subdomain : etexts.melbournephilosophy.com for example. I personally like using Java because I trust its security, but that's just a wishlist item. Does anyone here know of any good software for creating an online library of papers? The types of media I would like to reference are papers in PDF format, audio and video, and "captured web". (Captured web being a web site that is stored, converted to an archive format like PDF or postscript, and stored). I would like to be able to submit articles by URL or upload, have them stored in a central database along with their file hash, then published along with whatever automatically extracted metadata possible, plus be given a form for subjective coding.

I tried posting this to slashdot (geek news page) but it got rejected, and I don't know any other geek fora where there is enough hacker interest to spark off good responses, so at risk of going all software on everyone, I thought I'd post here also.

I guess I'm looking ideally for something out of the box, but it's also something I genuinely care about, so I could be convinced to write something from scratch...

What do people think?

Cheers,
-MP

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