Thursday, March 11, 2010

Google, Italian Culture Ministry sign book digitization pact

Google Books will digitize at least 1 million books that are not covered by copyright...

Google and the Italian Culture Ministry have signed an agreement for the digitization of books held in Italy's two main national libraries, the first such pact between the U.S. company and a national government, the two sides announced Wednesday.
"Google Books will digitize at least 1 million books that are not covered by copyright and that constitute our cultural heritage," Mario Resca, director general for development at the Culture Ministry, said at a press conference in Rome.
Delivering smarter, better products faster---with reduced cost and risk: Download nowWorks by authors such as Dante, Machiavelli, Petrarch, Leopardi and Manzoni, whose ideas helped to forge Western culture, will be included in the project, which will scan public domain books published prior to 1868, before modern copyright law came about.
The non-exclusive agreement would make books available immediately and free of charge to people around the world, both on the Google Internet platform and on platforms controlled by the participating Italian libraries, Resca said.
The project, which begins with the scanning of books held in the national libraries in Rome and Florence, is expected to stimulate interest in Italian culture and a love of reading, Resca said. Google will create a scanning center that will employ around 100 people and the project will result in a saving of some US$100 million for the Italian government, he said.
Nikesh Arora, Google's president for global sales operations and business development, said the project reflected the vision of Google's founders "to organize the world's information and make it available to everyone." The Italian project would help to counter the current Anglo-centric bias of the Internet, Arora added.

Full report here

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