View Full Version : The Race To Digitise Books Hots Up

31-10-06, 18:25
A race is on to digitize the world's books, pitting Internet juggernaut Google against a vast anti-Google coalition backed by yahoo and Microsoft.

In late August, Google restarted its Google Book Search project initiated in 2004 with the lofty aim of scanning every literary work into digital format and making them available online.

Google has formed partnerships with major universities such as Harvard, Oxford, the New York Public Library, Complutense of Madrid and the University of California to add their collections to its virtual bookshelves.
The virtual library project causes an outcry from publishers and authors that argued Google did not have the right to commandeer their works for free distribution online.

Google has also rejected claims that, being based in the United States, it has favoured English. It has promised it would next roll out a Google Book Search in French.

Opposition to the project, particularly by French and US editors, resulted in a group of book publishers forming the Open Content Alliance (OCA) in October of 2005. The OCA is a non-profit organization which joins together an array of universities, foundations, and data processors to create a "common pot" of digitized books available online for download or printing.
Initially baked by Yahoo, which was to tailor a search engine and finance converting 18,000 books to digital format, the alliance was quickly joined by technology titan Microsoft.

The world's leading computer software company promised to contribute 150,000 digitized books to the OCA collection.

Microsoft also plans to launch its own large-scale virtual book search engine called Windows Live Books Search "later this year", and begin forming its own collection of works.

Microsoft followed Google's lead by asking editors to submit their books to be scanned into digital format free of charge.

"Microsoft will be more closed", Kahle said, who is eager to see the Redmond, Washington-based firm's budding project Microsoft was working double-time to catch up with Google in the virtual books department. In mid-October Microsoft signed a deal with Kirtas, a manufacturer of high-speed scanners capable of digitizing an average length of book in 8 minutes.
Microsoft also arranged to digitize the contents of the Cornell University library. Neither Google nor Microsoft would reveal how many books they have already scanned. "In the thousands" was the only hint Google would give. At stake for the companies were advertising revenues that could be raked in from book-seeking Internet surfers.

"We are looking into the possibility of incorporating ads, into the Windows Live Book Search platform sometime in the future," Microsoft said. The outcome of the battle will undoubtedly hinge on the court decisions regarding copyright protections, and which search engine wins over the most coveted collections of written works.

More info (http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1215/p01s02-ussc.html)

31-10-06, 21:40
I can't stand reading anything on a computer screen. I'd much rather have a real book. You can take it anywhere - on the bus, in the bathroom, at the breakfast table. I hate it when software manuals are all on disk. You used to get a paper manual to read. Now if you want to study up, you have to boot up a computer and sit straight up in a chair. After 5 minutes your back hurts and you get sick of turning pages with a mouse or scrolling up and down. What a drag. Something just weren't meant to be on computers. I know there are notebook computers. But it's not the same. I'd rather have paper anyday. Much better on the eyes.