Largest digital library gives readers access to 1.5 million books

The world's largest online library offers access to 1.5 million books worldwide to readers at the click of a button, an international venture of scholars from the US, China, Egypt, and India said Tuesday.

Largest digital library gives readers access to 1.5 million books
The online library is part of the Million Book Project led by participants at the Carnegie Mellon University in the US, Zhejiang University in China, the Indian Institute of Science in India and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, who have digitized an estimated one percent of all books worldwide, in over 20 languages, and posted them to the website of the Universal Library, www.ulib.org.

The project seeks to make "all published works available to anyone, anytime, in any language," said Raj Reddy, of Carnegie Mellon University.

Similar projects launched by Goggle and Microsoft have sought to digitize book for online use but the Million Book Project has the most encompassing digital library of university-based books, many of which are rare and out of print.

The books range from "Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" to "Analects of Confucius" said Gloriana St. Clair, dean of libraries at Carnegie Mellon University.

Preserving paper-bound text in digital libraries is essential because of gradual decay books suffer over time and will remain in indefinite circulation, minimizing the risk of getting destroyed, according to scholars.

"Paper get's old and brittle, so books soon become so delicate that no one can read them without damaging them," said Yunhe, of the Zhejiang University in China.
Or, like the case at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, books and libraries have been destroyed throughout history in times of conflict and war.

"We're willing to go to great lengths to make sure that no such destruction is ever possible in the future. Once books are on the Internet, they become immortal," said Michael Shamos, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

The goal of the Million Book Project was to scan and digitize over a million books by 2007. The long-run goal of the project is to make published works available in every language for online use for free. However, due to copy right restrictions, only 10 percent of the project's literature is free to view.


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Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Kasım 2007, 12:31
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