The amazing people who actually contribute to NGC4lib (as opposed to pure lurkers, like me), got tired of talking about license agreements, money, license agreements… oh yeah, and license agreements when it came to getting book cover images into library catalogs. So they’ve decided to create an open database of book cover images.
At first, when they put together a wiki page to think about the project and then started thinking about how to match images with books, I figured it would be like most of the other discussions that happen on listservs: it would unearth a whole bunch of interesting questions, start a plethora of interesting discussions, and then die a slow and painless death.
But then Tim Spalding from LibraryThing and Rob Styles from Talis both offered to host the database. Spalding is checking to see if he’d be able to contribute his hundreds of thousands of user-generated images to the database, and everyone is talking about easy ways for libraries to contribute new images to the database. This could happen, folks! And if it does, I would LOVE to add images from it to our catalog.
[Update: Since this remains my most frequently visited blog post, I thought I'd just mention here that as of 8/7/2008, LibraryThing is offering free user-generated book cover images to libraries and bookstores. See the LibraryThing blog post for details.]