Library of Congress Scans 25,000 Books--Moving from Book Shelf to Cyberspace

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The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, housing millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts. Like many other great research libraries, the Library of Congress has been moving into the digital world.

One way they're doing it is through a scanning project that has so far put 25,000 books online for anyone to read or download.

Doron Weber of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which is funding the $2 million project, stresses the importance of scanning complete books to preserve their cultural context.

"To preserve book knowledge and book culture means preserving every word of every sentence in the right sequence of pages in the right edition, within the appropriate historical, scholarly and bibliographical context. You must respect what you scan and treat it as an organic whole, not just raw bits of slapdash data."
The scanning is being done by the Internet Archive. The San Francisco-based nonprofit group aims to preserve cultural artifacts such as musical recordings and Web pages, as well as books, and make them available online. Brewster Kahle heads the Internet Archive.

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