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Yesterday, Google and the British Library announced their partnership to digitize 250,000 books that are out of copyright. Though the British Library has worked with Microsoft previously and is currently working with brightsolid to digitize their newspaper collections, this project with Google is the largest digitization of paper media to date.
Chief Executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Google on this project and through this partnership believe that we are building on this proud tradition of giving access to anyone, anywhere and at any time. Our aim is to provide perpetual access to this historical material, and we hope that our collections coupled with Google’s know-how will enable us to achieve this aim.” (Press Release)
The books, pamphlets and periodicals are from the early 1700’s through the 1870’s. This time period includes the American, French and Industrial Revolutions, the age of Enlightenment, the inventions of the steam engine and telegraph, and the fall of slavery. According to the press release, “the first works to be digitised will range from feminist pamphlets about Queen Marie-Antoinette (1791), to the invention of the first combustion engine-driven submarine (1858), and an account of a stuffed Hippopotamus owned by the Prince of Orange (1775).”
The books will be available for free to anyone through Google Books, the British Library website, and the European Digital Library, Europeana. Google, who is also helping 40 other libraries around the world, is incurring all of the costs. Even though Google may have dropped its motto, “Don’t be Evil,” they’re certainly trying to do some good.
I, for one, can’t wait to read about this hippo.
Interesting little infographic from Newsweek about the differences between books and e-books.
I came across this interesting little essay the other day, and it’s been on my mind ever since. As much as we talk about paying for “content” when we buy books, music, and movies, we’ve really just paying for the medium. Books are priced based on the number of pages and whether they are hardcover or paperback. Not the quality of the writing. The most critically acclaimed film at the theater doesn’t cost more to see than the least.
In this new, digital world, we’re beginning to move beyond this. Record companies have been pushing for more tiers of pricing on iTunes. Some television shows are free on Hulu. Some only show on premium cable and DVD. Once you eliminate the physical product, distinctions between perceived quality are able to be made.
It’s no longer about supply, demand, and the price of paper. It’s about quality and creativity.
Anyway. This article is worth reading.
Recently I stumbled upon two interesting projects that aim to provide insight into who we are. One does this through a closed small American town sample and one relies upon happen chance encounters along a nationwide road trip. Both intriguing.
A collection of photographs and narrative that portray the people who make up a small American town, all 670 of its residents. The first series of portrait photographs were conducted in 1984, and each is paired with its corresponding photo completed two decades later. A longitudinal study of American life and a seemingly interesting portrayal of juxtapositions and uncanny similarities.
“What a marvelous way to get at ‘who we are’ as people. This powerful confessional book draws its strength from the truth that so-called ordinary people, not those with bold-faced names, are actually the heroes of our American drama.”
—Ken Burns, Walpole, New Hampshire
A David Lynch project that documents a 20,000 mile road trip over 70 days. Interviews were conducted at random with people they found along the road.
“The people told their story.” – David Lynch
“It’s a chance to meet these people.” -David Lynch