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Open Library is an online project intended to create “one web page for every book ever published”. Created by Aaron Swartz,Brewster Kahle, Alexis Rossi, Anand Chitipothu, and Rebecca Malamud, Open Library is a project of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization. It has been funded in part by grants from the California State Library and the Kahle/Austin Foundation. Open Library provides online access to many public domain and out-of-print books.
Its book information is collected from the Library of Congress, other libraries, and Amazon.com, as well as from user contributions through a wiki-like interface. 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:
- 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 over 20 million records in its database. Tens of thousands of modern books have been made available from 150 libraries and publishers for ebook digital lending. Other books including in-print and in-copyright books have been scanned from copies in library collections, library discards, and donations, and are also available for lending in digital form. In total, the Open Library offers over 1.4 million books for digital lending.