World Digital Library in the Planning Stages
I just read in the Washington Post that Google and the Library of Congress are teaming up to create the World Digital Library.
David A. Vise, a writer for the Washington Post said,
"The Library of Congress is launching a campaign today to create the World Digital Library, an online collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other materials from its holdings and those of other national libraries that would be freely accessible for viewing by anyone, anywhere with Internet access.
"This is the most ambitious international effort ever undertaken to put precious items of artistic, historical, and literary significance on the Internet so that people can learn about other cultures without traveling further than the nearest computer, according to James H. Billington, head of the Library of Congress.
"Billington said his goal is to bring together materials from the United States and Europe with precious items from Islamic nations stretching from Indonesia through Central and West Africa, as well as important materials from collections in East and South Asia."
You can read the rest of the story here.
I haven't decided where I stand on this yet. I don't see it as the "doom" of libraries or book stores. There is the problem of copyright, and Google is fighting that battle in court. What I do like is that documents hundreds of years old and very fragile are being digitized, and Google is learning how to handle them in the process. In the future, I suspect the knowledge of how to carefully handle such books while digitizing them will be valuable information.
It's an interesting era we live in, eh?