Open Library

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Open Library
Open Library homepage in September 2011
Web address
Slogan One web page for every book.
Commercial? no
Type of site
Digital library index
Registration free
Available in English
Launched 2006; 10 years ago (2006)
Revenue donation
Alexa rank
16,427 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Active

Open Library is an online project intended to create "one web page for every book ever published". Created by Aaron Swartz,[2][3] Brewster Kahle [4] among others, Open Library is a project of the non-profit Internet Archive and has been funded in part by a grant from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation.

It provides access to many public domain and out-of-print books, which can be read online.

Book database and digital lending library[edit]

Its book information is collected from the Library of Congress, other libraries, and, as well as from user contributions through a Wiki-like interface.[3] If books are available in digital form, a button labelled "Read" appears next to its catalog listing. Links to where books can be purchased or borrowed are also provided.

There are different entities in the database:

  • authors
  • works (which are the aggregate of all books with the same title and text)
  • editions (which are different publications of the corresponding works)

Open Library claims to have 6 million authors and 20 million books (not works), and about one million public domain books available as digitized books.[5] Tens of thousands of modern books were made available from 4[6] and then 150 libraries and publishers[7] for digital lending.


Open Library began in 2006 with Aaron Swartz as the original engineer and leader of Open Library's technical team.[2][3] The project was led by George Oates from April 2009 to December 2011.[8] Oates was responsible for a complete site redesign during her tenure.[9]

The site was redesigned and relaunched in May 2010. Its codebase is on GitHub.[10] The site uses Infobase, its own database framework based on PostgreSQL, and Infogami, its own Wiki engine written in Python.[11] The source code to the site is published under the Affero General Public License, version 3.[12][13]

Books for the blind and dyslexic[edit]

The website was relaunched adding ADA compliance and offering over 1 million modern and older books to the print disabled in May 2010[14] using the DAISY Digital Talking Book.[15] Under federal law in the United States, libraries are allowed to make copyrighted books available to people with disabilities so newer titles can become available.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ a b "A library bigger than any building". BBC News. 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  3. ^ a b c Grossman, Wendy M (2009-01-22). "Why you can't find a library book in your search engine". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  4. ^ "Aaron Swartz: howtoget". Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  5. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  6. ^ Fowler, Geoffrey A. (2010-06-29). "Libraries Have a Novel Idea - WSJ". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  7. ^ "Internet Archive Forums: In-Library eBook Lending Program Launched". 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  8. ^ "George". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  9. ^ Oates, George (2010-03-17). "Announcing the Open Library redesign « The Open Library Blog". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  10. ^ "internetarchive/openlibrary · GitHub". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  11. ^ "About the Technology". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  12. ^ "Developers / Licensing". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  13. ^ "openlibrary/LICENSE at master · internetarchive/openlibrary · GitHub". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  14. ^ "Project puts 1M books online for blind, dyslexic |". 2010-05-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  15. ^ "Welcome to Daisy Books for the Print Disabled". Internet Archive. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 

External links[edit]