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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Columbia University Partners with Microsoft to Digitize Books


Columbia University and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating on an initiative to digitize a large number of books from Columbia University Libraries and make them available to Internet users. With the support of the Open Content Alliance (OCA), publicly available print materials in Columbia Libraries will be scanned, digitized, and indexed to make them readily accessible through Live Search Books.

Columbia University and Microsoft are partners in the Open Content Alliance, along with the Boston Library Consortium, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Toronto among others. The alliance, which has made open access a core component of its mission, is scanning only out-of-copyright materials.
The initiative will allow students, researchers, and scholars to have global access to books in the public domain from the Libraries’ outstanding collections via Live Search Books. Published material in digital libraries offers an alternative and reliable source of information to that gleaned from general web searches.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.