Yahoo Works With 2 Academic Libraries and Other Archives on Project to Digitize Collections, from the Chronicle

Another search engine company has joined with academic libraries to digitize large collections of books to make them easily searchable online. Yahoo Inc. has teamed up with the University of California, the University of Toronto, and several archives and technology companies on a project that could potentially bring the complete texts of millions of volumes into digital form.

Yahoo officials say that the project is not a response to Google’s partnership with five major research libraries to scan millions of books, and that some planning for the Yahoo project was under way before Google announced its plans last December.

Whether or not you believe that, this sounds intriguing and will be worth following closely:

The new archive is called the Open Content Alliance, and it was conceived in part by Brewster Kahle, director of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library. The archive will be doing much of the actual scanning for the project, using a process it has developed in recent years. Libraries involved in the project can have their books scanned by the Internet Archive for 10 cents per page, which leaders of the project say is far below the standard price of scanning.

Leaders of the project stressed that no books that are under copyright will be scanned unless the copyright holders give explicit permission.

I’ll be interested if publishers object to this project, & if so, on what grounds. I think this has the potential to show publishers’ true colors.

“One meaningful service for a library community is to build something which enables the libraries to identify instantly what’s in there and what’s not in there,” and then add to the collection, [Daniel Greenstein] said. “One of the interests of the group is exploring ways to get people to upload materials directly to the archive.”

All LIS students out there, take note: that’s what I call a call to arms.

The Open Content Alliance site.