John Milton

Open Milton

Jane Park, December 11th, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday John Milton! The poet that English majors belabor and grow to know so well turned 400 earlier this week, and to celebrate, the Open Knowledge Foundation launched Open Milton. What is Open Milton?

Open Milton is “an open set of Milton’s works, together with ancillary information and tools, in a form designed for reuse. The Open Milton project has two main objectives:

  1. Provide the works of John Milton, along with textual apparatus and tools all in an open form.
  2. Deliver this material as a knowledge package that allows for easy deployment, redistribution and reuse. 

Specifically [they] provide a full open set of Milton’s works along with ancillary material, a variety of tools and a python API. In addition to the works themselves there is a chronology, statistics, a concordance and search facilities.”

The great thing about Open Milton is that it is a specialized resource, organized and pieced together in novel and thoughtful ways—but it doesn’t prevent you or anyone else from tinkering with it, adding to it, and making it better. Why? Because it’s licensed under CC BY and therefore discoverable (machine-readable), even if it doesn’t conform to some aggregator’s notion of a proper resource. Open Milton is an excellent example for self-publishing; anyone can give their work the advantage of open licensing.

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