Yesterday, Mocavo.com released a new collection of yearbooks. I was so ecstatic to see this!
I enjoy looking through old yearbooks. A couple of years ago I created a yearbook index for the NCGenWeb Project. To date, I’ve indexed more than 30,000 names from close to 500 yearbooks. And where did those yearbooks come from that I’ve indexed? Mostly, yearbooks digitized by the NC Digital Heritage Center (NCDHC). The group has been very active in the past couple of years digitizing yearbooks from across the state. The digitized yearbooks are hosted on the Internet Archive, and then also viewable on the DigitalNC website. The 500 I’ve indexed are only a part of what they’ve done – so, I am quite familiar with their collection.
Thus, naturally, as I started to explore Mocavo’s yearbook collection, I began by looking to see what they had available from North Carolina (well, yesterday you could filter by state — that feature is interestingly enough missing today).
But then, my “inner librarian” started to get suspicious.
I quickly realized that many of the titles I was seeing were the same ones put on the Internet Archive by the NCDHC. I also searched yearbooks from other states that I have listed on my Genealogy Digital Bookshelf website, and see the same – -many on that list (which are all from the Internet Archive) were also in Mocavo’s database.
Here are the problems…
- You wouldn’t know that the Internet Archive is the source of these yearbooks. Mocavo’s statement on the front page of the collection is that they (as in Mocavo) “put” the yearbooks online. There is no mention that the IA is the source for the material.
- Each yearbook has a watermark imprint in the bottom left corner that reads “Hosted by Mocavo.” Does this mean that Mocavo took the file and placed it on their servers? They may not have the right to do that.
- Some of the yearbooks are still under copyright. Their placement in the Internet Archive does not necessarily bypass that – the 1953 yearbook of Wake Forest University is just one such example. The 1936 Kent State yearbook is another. Their copyright statements state that images and texts cannot be used without permission and/or proper citation and acknowledgement is requested. Did Mocavo seek permission from all copyright holders before putting yearbook digital files on the Mocavo servers?