This Week In Digital Libraries

November 22nd, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We have become devotees of the latest game in town: My Scanning Donation is Bigger Than Yours. The rules are simple. Major corporations with aspirations of becoming stars in the digital book market vie for prizes, headlines, and market share. Along the way, they face obstacles such as lawsuits, public confusion, and the knowledge that no matter how much they do, there will always be a chance that a younger, brighter, richer company will enter the game.

But at the least the Library of Congress will get a head start on scanning its vast trove treasures. Google has announced a million donation to help advance their project. As regular contributors to the United States Treasury, we are pleased by this largesse.

Google’s contribution will help build the World Digital Library, a project that has already garnered a lot of financial attention. Bringing world knowledge — the library is envisioned as a trove of materials from the entire planet and probably beyond — is an admirable goal, and we stand ready to handle this rather easily overcome problem:

It’s unlikely all the documents included in the World Digital Library will be indexed by Google or other search engines. That’s because the technology that search engines use to crawl the Web still can’t figure out how to recognize some documents, like handwritten letters. But [Sergy] Brin expects Google to eventually figure out a way to index almost everything in the World Digital Library.

We have the technology. Already. One suspects Google was just being polite to the reporter. Hint: remember last week’s discussion about metadata? We thought so.

File Under: The Future of Publishing