Google and the Digital Humanities

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Proponents of the Google Books project have argued that the effort to scan every printed book in the world into a digital database will be a game-changer for scholarship. Now Google is trying help digital humanities scholars prove it.

The company plans to announce today that it is bankrolling 12 university-based research projects designed to demonstrate the potential value to scholarship of its growing digital vault.

Google has been scanning books from cooperating libraries since 2004, and currently indexes digital versions of 12 million books. Despite various legal challenges, it aspires to expand this collection over the next two decades to include all 80 million or so published works known to be in circulation, says Jon Orwant, engineering manager of Google Books....

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