Saturday, April 21, 2007

The European Digital Library

The EU is continuing its progress towards developing the European Digital Library, a networked collection of Europe's cultural works. One of the biggest obstacles facing further advancement has been copyright law. The EU Observer reported that part of the blockade has been cleared, and that the initiative is well on its way to digitalizing more texts. Interestingly, Google has been listed as a large broker in this deal, specifically in digitalizing orphaned works. Are they planning on extending their Google Books project to include works on the EDL? Equally curious is whether Google will receive ad revenue from searches conducted by its service. Has the EU sorted out a bigger deal with the internet company?

Fortunately several large libraries in the U.S. are in full support of digitalizing orphaned works. These works, which are still under copyright's protection but do not have a reachable holder, have for a long time been disenfranchised. Google's wide-scale scanning project has helped revitalize the use of orphaned works and has even generated interest in getting out-of-print books back into production.

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