Hard to Find Library Books
Google Brings Millions of Hard-to-Find Library Books to Your Fingertips
By Dr. Joseph Mercola
Millions of hard-to-find books from five major libraries will soon be a lot easier to access: Google has made plans to scan and digitize them, making the books available on their widely used Internet search engine.
Google's latest endeavor is a large step beyond previous attempts to scan books so they can be read online (Google, Amazon.com and other smaller sites have offered glimpses of books and libraries online before). What makes this initiative so different is the sheer breadth of material that Google plans to cover.
Five libraries will be involved in the project in various stages:
* New York public library: Allowing Google a small portion of books no longer covered by copyright.
* Harvard University library: Is contributing a limited 40,000 volumes to guage how well the process works.
* Stanford University library: Will submit its entire collection to Google's scanners.
* Michigan University library: Will also submit its entire collection.
* Oxford University library: Contributing all its books published before 1901
To get an idea of just how large a project Google is taking on, consider that Michigan's library alone contains 7 million volumes, which is about 132 miles of books, while Harvard's library contains 15 million. The Michigan job is expected to take six years.
Although some in the field worry that this trend could signal the end of libraries, others are excited at the prospect of putting valuable information that was once limited in its use at the fingertips of all Internet users. The project will also create a digital record for material that was created before computers, thereby preserving it in a way that could not have been done in the past.