Friday, April 6, 2007

Chronicle of Higher Education :: Brewster Kahle - How Digital Book Collections Will Change Academe

Brewster Kahle, Director of the Internet Archive, was interviewed this week in a Chronicle of Higher Education podcast on the Economics and Feasibility of Mass Book Digitization. Among the many interesting points in the interview was that one of the biggest challenges is to such a mass digitization effort to believe that to digitize massive numbers of books and make them available is actually possible. The Open Content Alliance has put together a suite of technology that brings down the cost for a color scan with OCR to 10 cents per page or about $30 per book. He then goes on to perform this calculation: the library system in the U.S. is a 12B industry. One million books digitized a year is $30M, or “a little less than .3 percent of one year’s budget of the United States library system would build a 1 million book library that would be available to anyone for free.” He also covers copyright concerns including the more liberal copyright laws in countries such as China.
(Abstract from Peter Murray)