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provides (e.g. access to many licensed databases). Recently the NYPL received a gift of $ 7
million for its Visual Treasures project (2000-2004; 600.000 digital images) under the
condition that it will be made available for free world -wide.
The conclusion of its director, Paul LeClerc, is:"We might be a spoiler. (...) We are going
to give it all away for free.Why should a national library that is funded by the state (...) why
should they charge, when a private library can give it away for free.Why should people pay
when they can get it for free from the New York Public Library. Or the Library of
Congress, which is a major, major player in free information in electronic form also."
(DigiCULT Interview, June 8, 2001)
Another U.S. example from the scholarly world is the Massachusetts Institute of Techno-
logy (MIT) that will put its course materials on the Internet for free.The web site
OpenCourseWare does not provide free e-learning, but is a online library where visitors
can browse through and examine lectures, syllabuses, reading lists, and assignments for
courses ranging from architecture to physics.While many universities try hard to get into
the e-learning business, the MIT "will head in the opposite direction by making nearly all
of the elite university's course materials freely available on the Internet. In the next two
years, MIT plans to post the content of 500 courses on the Web and roughly 2,000
courses by the end of the decade."The OpenCourseWare, also it will not provide packaged
material for online courses, is said to cost MIT about $100 million to start. Its user groups
are imagined to be Third World academics or intellectually aspiring high schools kids. For
other universities OpenCourseWare squanders the chance to profit from the booming
distance-learning market", while supporting M.I.T's brand and position in being seen as a
high-class scholarly and educational institution. (cf. Hartigan, 2001)