Brian has written a short post about universities actively trying to stop promotional material (yes – promotional material) finding freedom on the web. How funny is that?
On a related note, Sarah Perez from ReadWriteWeb did a post a couple of days ago about hidden image resources in the so called “deep web”. The list of links is great – I particularly like Calisphere and this collection of the 1906 SF earthquake. Lovely.
A couple of things though – first, surely Perez is wrong to suggest that these images are “the deep web”? I did a couple of tests looking for images via Google and it all seemed to be spidered ok. This one for instance was found via a Google search for the image title. It also appears on Google Image Search. Granted, you’d likely not find it given the quantity of other stuff, but it is definitely being spidered, so to me that means it’s not Deep Web. I may have missed something..
The finer point is more interesting, which is about what these institutions have done (or not) to promote these exceptionally fine collections. I haven’t looked into it any further in these cases but it’s familiar territory (you know, the whole open content, CC licensing, Flickr-usage, watermarking, marketing gubbins).
That’s where it comes back to Brian’s post – the content is great, the hard work has been done: the digitisation, the cataloguing, the site design. Then at the last hurdle, fear seems to strike. Better hide the content, you know, in case someone – like – uses it.