In January this year, the Library at the University of Guyana was inundated with a flood. In spite of heroic efforts by staff to place materials out of harm's way in the midst of the record rainfall, a great many materials were lost. To read about the flood, and help out by purchasing the latest edition of books identified as needed, go to: http://www.uog.edu.gy/ormp/ugflood.htm.
There is another way for scholarly authors to help out. This method will not only help the University of Guyana library right now; it will help any other university in similar circumstances in the future, whether we are aware of their distress or not.
This is a very simple method, that only takes a few minutes. Make your own work openly accessible, whether through self-archiving, or publishing in an open access journal.
Your work may well have been included in one of those books that was destroyed in the flood. Access may or may not be restored in time, through the relief efforts. If your work was in a book no longer available for purchase in print, it won't be. If your work is openly accessible, then it is available to the faculty and students at University of Guyana to read it as soon as their internet connectivity is available.
This illustrates a concept I talked about in my post about open access as a factor that moves us in the direction of global economic stability, and equity, which can be found at: http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com/2005/08/open-access-model-with-potential-to.html.
While the library is being rebuilt, think of all the wonderful open access resources that are already immediately available; the 1,670 journals that can be found through the Directory of Open Access Journals, the millions of self-archived articles that can be found through either google or an OAIster search. Aren't you glad these resources are there? I know I am!
This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.