Exciting recent news about the world’s knowledge moving on-line

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 12/16/2004 - 11:48.

recent news about the world’s knowledge moving on-line, it was recently
announced Google is funding an initiative to digitize all the books of the
world’s greatest library collections, meaning anyone with internet access will
increasingly be able to find all great published research, freely and easily –
their value proposition is to attach advertising and links to sites selling the
printed content, for those wanting dead trees. Interesting to note one of the
libraries being converted is University of Michigan, where a Google founder
received his BS, showing the real trickle down value of keeping your alumni
happy. This digital library has always been a dream of the electronic age, now
coming true. Here we see the increased significance of the internet realized,
and must appreciate the growing inequity resulting from the digital divide,
denying the financially disadvantaged access to the world’s knowledge. From the
always provocative Good Morning Silicon Valley:

soon to a browser near you: Yahoo! Books!; MSN Library; and Ask Jeeves (about

When Google said its
mission was to make all the world's information searchable, it wasn't kidding.
On Monday afternoon the company announced plans to digitize
and make searchable portions of the collections of five of the world's leading
research libraries
. Over the next few years Google will scan and index
nearly all the 8 million books in Stanford's collection and the 7 million at the
University of Michigan
. It will do the same for portions of the New York
Public Library and libraries at Harvard
and Oxford.
The effort, the largest of its kind ever attempted, will create searchable
database of some
50 million titles
. Within six years we will be able to view
the full text of a vast assortment of titles in public domain and
excerpts from those still under copyright. In each case text will be presented
with full bibliographic information and pointers to libraries or online
merchants where the books can be found. It's a project of unparalleled scope,
one all the more astonishing because Google is underwriting a large portion of
it at a cost some estimate to be $10 per title. "Going as fast as we can with
the traditional means of doing this, it would take us about 1,600 years to do
all 7 million volumes," said
John Wilkin, associate librarian at the University of Michigan
, where Google
co-founder Larry Page received his bachelor of science degree in engineering.
"Google will do it in six years. If we were to do this job ourselves, it would
probably cost us $600 million. That's just the human cost of preparing the
material for scanning, packing it up and sending it out to vendors and then
quality-control checking of the results. This is easily a billion-dollar effort.
I can't imagine there's anything out there on this scale. Nothing has been
conceived on this scale. It's access to a research collection that we never
would have dared imagine possible. Anyone with an Internet connection now has
access to a vast research library."