Microsoft Scanning British Library

    November 7, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The competition with Google Print begins in the UK as Microsoft and the British Library have reached an agreement that will see 100,000 books digitized.

A story on TechWorld noted the deal between Microsoft and the British Library. MSN Book Search will scan books that are no longer under copyright restrictions.

Over the past decade, the British Library has been working on digitizing books, but their efforts have barely begun to scratch the surface. “Actually, for us to have some of these commercial players come along and want to work with us on digitising these collections, it’s fantastic,” said Richard Boulderstone, director of e-Strategy for the British Library, in the report.

The 100,000 titles Microsoft will scan should contribute about 25 million pages to the start of the project. Microsoft had announced its Book Search would become available in early 2006.

Microsoft recently announced it would take part in the Open Content Alliance, which already had Yahoo on board as a participant. The OCA will square off against Google Print, a go-it-alone approach that has already drawn criticism and a couple of lawsuits for its plans to scan books unless asked by publishers not to scan certain titles.

Initially, Microsoft will stick to works that are out of copyright, in order to avoid the problems Google faces in court. However, MSN has been talking with publishers and libraries about including copyrighted works in a future planned business model.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.