From the Carnegie Mellon newsletter...
Online "Universal Library" Gives Readers Access to 1.5 Million Books: International Project Makes Complete Texts Available Through Single Web Portal
PITTSBURGH: The Million Book Project, an international venture led by Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, Zhejiang University in China, the Indian Institute of Science in India and the Library at Alexandria in Egypt, has completed the digitization of more than 1.5 million books, which are now available online. For the first time since the project was initiated in 2002, all of the books ... are available through a single Web portal of the Universal Library (www.ulib.org), said Gloriana St. Clair, Carnegie Mellon's dean of libraries.
"Anyone who can get on the Internet now has access to a collection of books the size of a large university library," said Raj Reddy, professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon. "This project brings us closer to the ideal of the Universal Library: making all published works available to anyone, anytime, in any language. The economic barriers to the distribution of knowledge are falling," said Reddy, who has spearheaded the Million Book Project.
Though Google, Microsoft and the Internet Archive all have launched major book digitization projects, the Million Book Project represents the world's largest, university-based digital library of freely accessible books. At least half of its books are out of copyright, or were digitized with the permission of the copyright holders, so the complete texts are or eventually will be available free.
The collection includes a large number of rare and orphan books. More than 20 languages are represented among the 1.5 million books, a little more than 1 percent of all of the world's books.
Many of the books, particularly those in Chinese and English, have been digitized - their text converted by optical character recognition methods into computer readable text. That allows these books to be searched and, eventually, reformatted for access by PDAs and other devices. ..
Though the long-term goal of the Universal Library is to make books, artwork and other published works available online for free, about half of the current collection remains under copyright. Until the permission of the copyright holders can be documented, or copyright laws are amended, only 10 percent or less of those books can be accessed at no cost.
The project has surpassed one million books, but the participants are looking to expand to all countries and eventually every language...
For a full list of partners in the Million Book Project, see the "people" menu at www.ulib.org.
Read the full news release...
Access the Universal Library...
(With thanks to Karen Wei for informing us of this news)
Posted by Katie Newman at November 30, 2007 9:48 AM