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Stanford has posted a document outlining the scope and rationale of its participation in the Google Book Search initiative.
Google began scanning works from Stanford in approximately March of 2005. Stanford has selected its federal government collection as the first set of works to be scanned under the project; these works are in the public domain. Once this large collection is scanned, Stanford will focus on providing works to Google that were published in the United States up to 1964 and that are believed to be in the public domain. Stanford’s current focus is on older works in the public domain because Google will make the entire texts of these works available to readers and researchers, and because many of these older works are deteriorating at a rapid pace and it is a priority to digitize these works while they remain physically sound. SULAIR]
It strongly makes the point I made in these pages a while ago, that it provides an index into a rich resource. Why should books be less accessible than the web?
Discovery of information has made the Internet the spectacularly successful resource it has become. By providing similar discovery tools for the tens of millions of printed books held in libraries, a very large and culturally important fraction of the world’s information will retain its rightful place as a trusted source of information and expression and its value in the processes of teaching, learning, and research will be magnified. Google Books Library Project, as well as Stanford’s other digitization efforts, is a major step in assuring that Stanford’s huge investment in its millions of library books can provide returns to readers of all ages, backgrounds, and locations. [SULAIR]