/ about Free the Books

Free the Books

conjugating international copyright laws
As a Google Library Partner , The University of Texas Libraries will digitize at least one million books from the Libraries’ unique collections, starting with our Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection. This rich collection holds over 800,000 titles about and from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Librarians, faculty and alumni acquired these works by gift, exchange and purchase over eight decades to create a comprehensive collection to support teaching and research at the university.

Current technologies enable us to provide virtual access to these collections for study anywhere, but a tangle of international treaties and copyright laws complicates our use and distribution of foreign works. There is little guidance to help us reliably identify which of our books are already in the public domain so we are piloting a project to develop new tools for ourselves and for anyone who wants to tackle these difficult public domain problems. We will document our process, our progress and our results on these pages along with links to web resources we find useful. We invite suggestions and comments from other Google Library Partners and anyone undertaking similar or related projects. Comment on our posts.

Email us at freethebooks@gmail.com. We are here; we are building an evidence base and we are looking for virtual partners!

A member of the University of Texas LibBlogs network

 / conjugating international copyright laws

Author Birth and Death Dates; Major Works



LC Authority Files


Free, web-based tool developed by the U.S. Library of Congress to establish clear identification of authors and aid in the consistent use of names for persons, places, meetings, and organizations, titles, and subjects across millions of bibliographic records. The database includes 3.8 million personal names collected by LC catalogers over the last hundred years.


OCLC Identities


Free site, in beta. Examine this site with Ricardo Palma (1833-1919) Peruvian author and Librarian of the National Library of Peru, as an example. OCLC Identities page will provide among a publication timeline for the author, a list of books by and about the author, a tag cloud of subjects associated with the author and many other details about the author and his works. 


ProQuest: Multiple Historical Newspaper Databases


Subscription-based database provides links to full-text of articles published in the four major U.S. newspapers. Advanced search feature allows input of data obtained from periodical indexes, including The New York Times Obituary Index, 1858-1968. Besides birth and date information, the full-text entries provide information about individuals including nationality, residences, next of kin, publishers, and titles of works. This additional data supplements birth and death dates, titles of works by and about an author cataloged by the Library of Congress or identified in OCLC. Supplementary data is not consistent from decade to decade and varies over generations as styles and conventions for obituaries and death notices changed.




Biografias de Autores Brasileiros


89 biographies with b and d dates of authors (16th to 20th cent whose works appear in BibVirt the full-text collection of Brazilian literary works (over 600) compiled by students of the University of Sao Paolo


Biography Reference Bank, HH Wilson, updated daily, adds 1,000 yearly. Not all death dates actualized. Covers over 1,000 bio-sketches of Latin American personalities http://vnweb.hwwilsonweb.com/hww/shared/shared_main.jhtml?_requestid=89747

Database includes authors, composers, musicians, directors, statesmen, political leaders, government officials and people in the news. Profiles from Current Biography, the World Authors series, plus other publishers’ biographical resources like Spanish American Authors, World Authors 1900-2000, Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature, and Encyclopedia of Mexico with full-text articles, page images, and abstracts. Covers 500,000 people mostly US and UK. Substantive profiles and 36,000 images with links to 380,000 related full text articles.  Good interface, pronunciation guide.


Caribbean Literature


List of forty (40) authors with nationality, birth, and death dates. Part of the Alexander Street Press world Series of online full-texts of Latino and Caribbean literature. Requires subscription. Other titles include Latin Literature and Latin American Women Writers from colonial times.


Contemporary Authors


Part of Gale Literary database. Covers more than 100,000 modern authors who were active prior to1960. Includes Latin American authors, nationality, birth and death dates.


Gales’ Scribner Writer’s Series


1,600 detailed bio-critical essays on the lives and works of authors from around the world.