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September 28, 2007

Are we digitising into silos?

I certainly hope not!  But reading, or possibly mis-reading, between the lines of the BBC report on the British Library's recent announcement that it is working with Microsoft to digitise 100,000 19th Century books leaves me a little worried. The phrasing of:

digitised publications will be accessible in two ways - initially through Microsoft's Live Search Books and then via the Library's website

makes it sound like these texts are not going to start popping up in Google search results any time soon.

I hope I'm wrong?  Please shout if you know better!

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I am currently working on a slightly different project with Microsoft, but the understanding, from people I know within Microsoft, is that these digital editions will not be free of charge for everyone and only free of charge to selected higher education institutions in the UK.
I also have close friends in the British Library and they have said that they believe the same thing, although they are not directly involved in the project activities.
So as you say are we digitising into silos?

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