Web-based library

ISSUE 1, VOL. 1, YEAR 1, JAN. 2005, Page 39

Google's digital web-based library plan

Dilan Roshani,

Web search leader Google Inc (www.google.com) has announced that it is working on a project to digitally scan the collections at seven libraries and will make the pages available to Google users over the coming years.

Google uploaded a sample of the new information on Dec 14th 2004 and indicated that it will help scan the entire collections of academic institutions, including the Universities of Michigan and Harvard and the New York Public Library. This project aims to unlock the wealth of information that is offline and bring it online to make it available globally via World Wide Web.

This practically means that when search results bring in pages from scanned library books, Google will provide links to its advertising partner Amazon.com and libraries where the books can be borrowed. Google will get no compensation for the links.

Google is picking up the estimated $150 million tab to have employees onsite at the Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Michigan University libraries, and the New York Public Library, and begin scanning books page by page [www.usatoday.com].

"This is one of the most transformative events in the history of information distribution since Gutenberg," says New York Public Library CEO Paul LeClerc to USA Today journalist.

Google is the world's most popular Internet search engine with 47.6% of all searches, according to measurement service ComScore Media Metrix.

Rob Enderle, an independent analyst with The Enderle Group, predicts that Google's library program will motivate the publishing industry to get serious about having more searchable online books. "The object is to get the books read, and search engines will be where more readers will find out about books than at the bookstore," he says. Clearly, this project would have a tremendous impact on facilitating access of students in developing countries, including Kurdistan, to international libraries.