Microsoft Ends Book and Article Scanning

May 24th, 2008 by Tom Elliott

Miguel Helf, writing in the New York Times, reports:

Microsoft said Friday that it was ending a project to scan millions of books and scholarly articles and make them available on the Web … Microsoft’s decision also leaves the Internet Archive, the nonprofit digital archive that was paid by Microsoft to scan books, looking for new sources of support.

The blog post in question (by Satya Nadella, Senior vice president search, portal and advertising) indicates that both Live Search Books and Live Search Academic (the latter being Microsoft’s competitor with Google Scholar) will be shut down next week:

Books and scholarly publications will continue to be integrated into our Search results, but not through separate indexes. This also means that we are winding down our digitization initiatives, including our library scanning and our in-copyright book programs.

For its part, the Internet Archive has posted a short response addressing the situation, and focusing on the status of the out-of-copyright works Microsoft scanned and the scanning equipment they purchased (both have been donated to IA restriction-free), and on the need for eventual public funding of the IA’s work.

This story is being widely covered and discussed elsewhere; a Google News Search rounds up most sources.

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