Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two ways to digitize books

I recently said that I didn't expect everything in print to be available online digitally any time soon. One reason is that the fundamental question of who gets paid when and how for copyrighted material is far from settled. Another is the sheer volume of books out there.

All I know is what I read in the paper, um, I mean the online version of the paper, but as I understand it there are two competing approaches to this at the moment. Google and Microsoft will come in and digitize your books for you. All they ask is that they retain certain rights to the digital version, like the exclusive right to index it online.

The Open Content Alliance, on the other hand, will digitize the book and make it available to all. But it will cost you, along with the alliance, and its benefactors, a portion of the $30 or so it costs to digitize a book.

Despite the cost, many research libraries are finding it more in keeping with their mission to make the digital content available without restriction. This will be an interesting test of the "information wants to be free" theory.

1 comment:

David Hull said...

Note to self: see also The Case for Books