Here's the latest news on Google's drive to digitize the world's libraries. How many numismatic books will come online as a result? Only time will tell, but this is good news for researchers everywhere.
A treatise on a stuffed hippopotamus, an 18th-century English primer for Danish sailors and a description of the first engine-driven submarine are among 250,000 books to be made available online in a deal between Google and the British Library.
The agreement, announced Monday, will let Internet users read, search, download and copy thousands of texts published between 1700 and 1870.
It is a small step toward the library's goal of making the bulk of its 14 million books and 1 million periodicals available in digital form by 2020.
"So far we have only been able to digitize quite a small fraction of the global collection," said the library's chief executive, Lynne Brindley. "There is a long way to go."
The deal marks another step in Google's effort to make digital copies of the world's estimated 130 million books. The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., touts the ambitious project as a way to enable anyone with an Internet connection to tap in a vast reservoir of knowledge. Google, though, stands to make more money if it can build the world's biggest digital library.
By stockpiling millions of books that can't be easily found elsewhere, Google gives people another reason to use its search engine, which already processes about two out of every three queries on the Web.
Last year, the British Library announced plans to digitize up to 40 million pages of newspapers dating back three-and-a-half centuries, and it recently made thousands of 19th-century books digitized in a deal with Microsoft available as an app for iPhone and iPad devices.
To read the complete article, see:
British Library, Google in Deal to Digitize Books Published between 1700 and 1870
Elsewhere on the web Hugh Pickens writes:
"Books are on their way to extinction, writes Kevin Kelly, adding that we are in a special moment when paper books are plentiful and cheap that will not last beyond the end of this century. 'It seems hard to believe now, but within a few generations, seeing an actual paper book will be as rare for most people as seeing an actual lion.' But a prudent society keeps at least one specimen of all it makes, so Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, has decided that we should keep a copy of every book that Google and Amazon scan so that somewhere in the world there was at least one physical copy to represent the millions of digital copies. That way, if anyone ever wondered if the digital book's text had become corrupted or altered, they could refer back to the physical book that was archived somewhere safe.
The books are being stored in cardboard boxes, stacked five high on a pallet wrapped in plastic, stored 40,000 strong in a shipping container, inside a metal warehouse on a dead-end industrial street near the railroad tracks in Richmond California. In this nondescript and 'nothing valuable here' building, Kahle hopes to house 10 million books — about the contents of a world-class university library.
'It still amazes me that after 20 years the only publicly available back up of the internet is the privately funded Internet Archive. The only broad archive of television and radio broadcasts is the same organization,' writes Kelly. 'They are now backing up the backups of books. Someday we'll realize the precocious wisdom of it all and Brewster Kahle will be seen as a hero.'"
To read the complete article with reader comments, see:
The End of Paper Books
Wayne Homren, Editor
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