spobooks5621225.0001.001 in

    13.1 Introduction

    In this chapter I am not concerned with the demand for documents, nor am I concerned with the supply of documents.[1] Instead, I focus on the supply of information about documents. For some documents, holding detailed information about the document is as good as holding the document itself. This is typically the case when the document can be accessed on the Internet without any access restriction. Such a document will be called a public access document. Collecting data about documents is therefore particularly relevant for public access documents.

    The main idea brought forward in this paper is the "Open Library". Basically, an open library is a collaborative framework for the supply and usage of document data. Stated in this way the idea of the open library seems quite trivial. To fully appreciate the concept, it is useful to study one open library in more detail. My example is the RePEc dataset about Economics. In Section 13.2, I introduce RePEc as a document data collection. In Section 13.3, I push the RePEc idea further. I discuss the extension of RePEc that allows one to describe the discipline, rather than simply the documents that are produced by the members of the discipline. In Section 13.4, I make an attempt to define the open library more precisely. The example of RePEc demonstrates the relevance of the open library concept. I conclude the paper in Section 13.5.

    The efforts of which RePEc is the result go back to 1992. I deliberately stayed away from a description of the history of the work to concentrate on the current status. Therefore, insufficient attribution is given to the people who have contributed to the RePEc effort. See Krichel (1997) for an account of the early history of the NetEc projects. These can be regarded as precursors of RePEc.