Google Inc. is giving a financial boost to a U.S. Library of Congress project to digitize “rare and unique” items and build an online library.
With its US$3 million donation, Google has become the first private-sector contributor to the Library of Congress’ World Digital Library (WDL) project, the two organizations announced Tuesday. The Library of Congress will continue to seek contributions from other private-sector companies for the project.
At this stage, the Library of Congress is looking to develop a plan to lay the technological foundations of the WDL, whose content will mostly be digitized unique items, such as manuscripts.
Google’s library-scanning activities have
landed it in hot water recently. Google is digitizing books from five major libraries, including books under copyright protection, to make them searchable online using the company’s search engine. As a result, The Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers have filed separate lawsuits charging Google with copyright infringement.
The program, announced in December and called Google Book Search for Libraries, is a project to scan all or portions of the library collections of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, The New York Public Library and Oxford University. Google says its users will be able to access the full text of books in the public domain, but only a few sentences of copyright books.
The Library of Congress will get special permission to include works in the World Digital Library that aren’t in the public domain.
This isn’t the first time Google and the Library of Congress have collaborated. The two organizations recently completed a project to digitize about 5,000 public-domain books, and Google will scan works considered of historical value from the Library of Congress’ Law Library.