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WebSite, Design and Web Hosting News - Microsoft Inks Digital Book Deal
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Microsoft Inks Digital Book Deal

2006-10-20 16:57:00

Microsoft continued its migration into Google's domain this week when it inked a deal with a digital-scanning company to produce a vast library of online-accessible digitized books.

Kirtas Technologies, a maker of high-speed scanners, said it will digitize works for Microsoft's Live Book Search at speeds of up to 2,400 pages per hour -- approximately eight minutes per book.

Lotfi Belkhir, chief executive officer and founder of Kirtas Technologies, called the agreement "nothing less than the fulfillment of our founding mission to enable the moving of 560 years of backlog from books to bytes."

The Digital Race

The partnership with Kirtas is but one move among many that Microsoft has made of late to kick-start its Live Book Search program. In conjunction with the Kirtas announcement, the software giant announced it had landed an Ivy League library card to boost the number of titles that would be made available.

Microsoft will be scanning books from Cornell University's library. Redmond already has announced partnerships with the British Library and libraries at the University of California and the University of Toronto.

The books will become available online early next year.

Google Challenge

Google has been striking similar deals over the past year. Last November, the search giant announced plans to put 15 million volumes from the libraries of Stanford, Michigan, and Harvard universities online, in addition to works from the New York Public Library.

And last week, Google added to its large-scale collection of public domain books when the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said it would provide access to 7.2 million titles for the project.

Google launched Google Book Search, originally called Google Print, last November. However, at the time, some publishers argued they would rather have their books discovered elsewhere, and the project ran into litigation trouble.

Most recently, the Authors Guild filed a suit in federal court charging that Google's plan to digitize the entire collections of five libraries violated author copyrights.

Microsoft said its own program includes both copyrighted material furnished by publishing partners and select collections of public-domain material provided by library partners. According to Microsoft, access to the books will conform to copyright laws.

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