Project Ocean: Stanford University And Google

Ryan Schultz notes an interesting bit from the Feb. 1st article in the New York Times on the coming search engine war between Google and Microsoft. Note the final paragraph on Project Ocean.

"The company has also been pushing hard to find new sources of information to index, beyond material that is already stored in a digital form. In December, it began an experiment with book publishers to index parts of books, reviews and other bibliographic information for Web surfers.

And Google has embarked on an ambitious secret effort known as Project Ocean, according to a person involved with the operation. With the cooperation of Stanford University, the company now plans to digitize the entire collection of the vast Stanford Library published before 1923, which is no longer limited by copyright restrictions. The project could add millions of digitized books that would be available exclusively via Google."

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The Feb. 1 NYTimes article was by John Markoff. It is very interesting to compare this with this extract from his May 12, 2003 NYT article:

The Evelyn Wood of Digitized Book Scanners. New York Times On the Web. 2003 May 12.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/12/technology/12TUR N.html

Putting the world's most advanced scholarly and scientific knowledge on the Internet has been a long-held ambition for Michael Keller, head librarian at Stanford University. But achieving this goal means digitizing the texts of millions of books, journals and magazines — a slow process that involves turning each page, flattening it and scanning the words into a computer database. Mr. Keller, however, has recently added a tool to his crusade. On a recent afternoon, he unlocked an unmarked door in the basement of the Stanford library to demonstrate the newest agent in the march toward digitization. Inside the room a Swiss-designed robot about the size of a sport utility vehicle was rapidly turning the pages of an old book and scanning the text. The machine can turn the pages of both small and large books as well as bound newspaper volumes and scan at speeds of more than 1,000 pages an hour.

The book-scanning robot was introduced by 4DigitalBooks of St. Aubin, Switzerland, and Kirtas Technologies of Victor, N.Y.

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