Google recently announced that the company will partner with several libraries in an effort to digitize millions of books and to place them online at no charge for all to use. See the earlier article for details. The ink was barely on the announcement when another group announced a somewhat similar effort.
The Internet Archive has partnered with a number of international libraries to place digitized books in an open-access archive. The plan is to ensure permanent and public access to our published heritage. Anyone with an Internet connection will have access to these collections and the growing set of tools to make use of them. The long-term goal of this effort is Universal Access to All Knowledge.
The Internet Archive has announced partnerships with libraries from 5 countries and expects to expand this number. More than one million books have been committed to the Text Archive. More than twenty-seven thousand books are already available today and an additional fifty thousand are expected in the first quarter of 2005.
Quoting from the Internet Archives' announcement:
Researchers, scholars, and the general public will be able to leverage these collections in ways that have been familiar to library users for centuries-- unfettered searching through catalogs, reading and annotating the books, and sharing pieces with colleagues. The public domain or appropriately licensed books will be viewed on-screen, searched, and printed for free using PDF and DJVU. Leveraging the book catalogs of the individual libraries, RLG (The Research Libraries Group, Inc.) and other catalogs, these books will be available to traditional library users without much retraining.
The libraries that have already committed to hosting books on the Internet Archive include:
- Carnegie Mellon University and the Million Book Project, USA
- University of Toronto, Canada
- Library of Congress American Memory Project, USA
- McMaster University, Canada
- University of Ottawa, Canada
- Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt
- Indian Institute of Science, India
- International Institute of Information Technology, India
- Zhejiang University, China
- European Archive, Netherlands
- Internet Archive, San Francisco USA
All libraries and archives are encouraged to join this free association by contacting the Internet Archive at firstname.lastname@example.org