To celebrate the Internet Archive’s 20th anniversary, the Open Library team has added pages for 200,000 new modern works and rolled out a brigade of fixes and features to improve our user experience.
Over the past year, Open Library’s digital librarian Jessamyn West and lead engineer Brenton Cheng have worked tirelessly with the engineering team and volunteer community to outline a roadmap for revitalizing Open Library and address the issues most affecting our users. We’re proud to announce progress on several fronts, including social sharing, improved book lending, a mobile-optimized book reader, full-text search, a new developer tool, and the addition of thousands of new modern works.
- Thanks to the efforts of Giovanni Damiola, full-text search through all books hosted on the Internet Archive is back online and is faster than ever. You can try the new feature, for example, to see over 115,000 places where works reference Benjamin Franklin’s maxim: “Little strokes fell great oaks”.
- Thanks to Richard Caceres, we have a beautiful new Book Reader, which looks great on mobile devices and provides a much clearer and simpler book borrowing experience. Try out the new Book Reader and see for yourself!
- In the processing of adding hundreds of thousands of new modern works to the Open Library catalog, Mek Karpeles released our new openlibrary-client, a command line developer tool for programmatically fetching and creating new works on Open Library.
There are a few small changes in the BookReader that we think you’ll like specifically. EPUB and PDF loans can be initiated from within an existing BookReader loan. What this means for Open Library users is two pretty cool things you’ve long requested:
- Users who start loans from the BookReader can borrow either EPUB or PDF formats, and switch formats during the loan period.
- Users who start loans from the BookReader can return loans early, even EPUBs and PDFs.
We hope these changes will delight our readers, empower our developers, and help our community to make even more quality contributions. The path ahead looks even more promising. With clear direction and exciting redesign concepts in the works, the Open Library team is eager to bring you an Open Library at the cutting edge of the 21st century while giving you access to five centuries’ of texts.