The Guardian had a strangely written article about the archives of the Geological Society this week. For one month only, the society's brand new online Lyell Collection is open to all and sundry, after which it will be locked away behind a paywall.
The collection contains the full text of the society's journals and certain other papers going back to 1845. Of particular interest to us Darwin groupies are The Proceedings of the Annual General Meeting of 18th February, 1859 [PDF], which record the awarding of the society's most prestigious prize, the Wollaston Medal, to Charles Darwin for his geological and barnacle work.
I know it costs money to run a website, and some of the material in the collection is still under copyright, but what a shame stuff like this isn't available online permanently for free. All this stuff is already available for free in the better public libraries. What's the worst thing that could happen if the collection was left permanently free online? More people might read it, find it easier to search, and actually cite articles from it (like I just did). I'd have thought a venerable scientific society would want to encourage that sort of thing.
Wake up, chaps, it's the Twenty-First Century!