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Peer Review

The Public Domain Enclosing the Commons of the Mind

by James Boyle


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 17, 2011 by Library and Information Services
Overview: This open textbook provides a great introduction to the history of public domain, intellectual property, copyright and creative commons. It would be useful for anyone who creates new knowledge or products, as well as for college students in a course about these issues.
Type of Material: open textbook
Recommended Uses: Individual, class textbook, for undergraduate and graduate students
Technical Requirements: Adobe Acrobat Reader
Identify Major Learning Goals: The reader will learn about public domain, intellectual property, copyright and creative commons.
Target Student Population: Undergraduate and graduate students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Ability to use features of Acrobat (zooming, etc.), basic knowledge of US history

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Provides a great introduction to the history of public domain, intellectual property and copyright. The content is clear and concise and easy to understand. The information provided is grounded in thorough research.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: This is a great source of information that would be beneficial to students and faculty in a variety of disciplines. The learning objects are identified at the beginning. There is a video and article noting benefits of open textbooks for publishers.
Concerns: None.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: This open textbook is an easy and fun way to learn about free speech and open access. It is effortlessly lucid and witty in places, making it a perfect reference for college and for general public.
Concerns: No scroll bar on the left side, must use chapter list in left nav or scroll wheel on mouse to navigate Using the left navigation to jump to a new chapter causes it to open at 51.5% zoom, which is impossible to read and must be increased each time.

Comments from Author: I am glad Merlot found my work of interest. Best, James