French led Euro Rival to Google Print Initiated

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Thread Title:
Chirac Rivals Google with French Online Book Plan
Thread Description:

Google Print, the ambitious plan to put great libraries of literature onto the Internet just got itself a French led European rival after making enemies in trademark suits in France where it has just lost it's latest appeal.

French president Jacques Chirac told the national library to get cracking on plans to build a european rival to what the french fear will be an english language dominated project run by the Search giant in the US.

Chirac gave the go-ahead for research into the project after Jean-Noel Jeanneney, who heads the national library, expressed concern that Google's plan to put books from some of the world's great libraries online would favor the English language.

Chirac asked Jeanneney and France's culture minister to look at ways "in which the collections of the great libraries in France and Europe could be made more widely and more quickly accessible by Internet," Chirac's office said in a statement.

Chirac would seek support among other European countries in the coming weeks for a bigger, coordinated push to get Europe's literary works online.

You have to wonder about the technology side of that i guess, Google have ample experience in indexing documents. What do the French have? At any rate, this is something to likely take years and years so file this one under "one day..."

More Book Digitization Projects

Gary Price emailed me this morning with some nice links to other projects, thanks Gary!

and this post by Roy Tennant who Gary says is a living legend in the library world, that's fairly damning for Google. It talks about how they've been less than forthcoming with details about their digitization project.

Comments

Please not :)

> Chirac asked Jeanneney and France's culture minister to look at ways "in which the collections of the great libraries in France and Europe could be made more widely and more quickly accessible by Internet," Chirac's office said in a statement.

As a Dane I am not sure it makes me feel any better that the French now want to archive my litterary history instead of the americans. Sorry, but I do not trust them to do that any better. In fact, I would assume it would be even more (French) nationally focused and narrow minded than Google.

and don't let the Brits do it either...

If you trust the British government to do it, they will farm it out to an American company, Probably EDS or any other company who doesn't have the experience or skill and who has never done a job on budget in their lives, It will take 5 times the original estimated time to do, cost 3 times the original cost and have 1/10 of the functionality required by spec.

Then they will claim it was a success. Hope this isn't too political Nick :-)

Choice is great for everyone

Way to go France.

I also think that if Denmark, Germany, the UK, Ireland or any other country, anywhere in the world wants to show history from their own historical standpoint then they too should go for it!

At the end of the day the more literature that is digitised and made available for anyone and everyone to read has to be a great thing. By this (previousaly hidden) content to be made available, an individual will have the opportunity of seeing all points of view and coming to their own conclusion.

As I said previously I do understand the French viewpoint and am over the moon to see them going forward in delivering an answer to the problem (as they see it)

It's now time for every other country around the globe to step up and do the equivalent for their national tomes, or as I said in the original post, just speak to the guys n gals at the plex and let them digitise it at no cost!

Sharing

How about if Google shared their technological expertise and worked with governments to create an internationally recognized spec for this stuff, then everyone could get involved, and everyone could benefit by linking in different national programs...

Great for users

Nice idea Nick

but the real cost isn't in coming up with a spec but in actually preserving the books and physically scanning them.

Many (most?) of them are hundreds of years old, in a styles of language that you and I wouldn't immediately recognise today.

Let's take one of the most magnificent documents ever produced (IMHO of course), the Magna Carta the founding document of democracy.

It's 790 years old and thankfully the British Library not only provide a digitised version of it but a translation as well. (Thanks fellow Brit tax payers!)

The content (due to its age) is public domain and free (as in beer as well as speech) but for all of those thousands (Millions?) of documents, that are hidden away in vaults, cellars, museums and cupboards the obscene costs of ensuring that they remain undamaged whilst being digitised means that a huge corporation (How about YahGooglSoft Historical Books Charity Inc?) would have to find a business case for the investment to digitise the works.

You can't take away the open ness of the words and once digitised imagine the value that would be added globally for every searcher online?

Come on guys, you're multi $Billion companies. Work together in preserving the words for millenia to come whilst gaining valuable content for your own use, as well as everyone else on earth!

Quote:
but the real cost isn't in coming up with a spec but in actually preserving the books and physically scanning them

That's where individual governments come in. I just meant that it would be nice to have a universal standard and sharing of technology...

Maybe I am becoming more cyni

Maybe I am becoming more cynical as I get older but I can't see any governments paying out for it.

Every govt. I can think of will say they love the idea but they have more pressing needs for the limited monies available.

I can only see it actually happening when the govts themselves aren't paying and I can only see that happening if a corp or consortium of corps get together and can see the value (real financial value at that) in undertaking the scanning.

Universal Standard

I agree with Nick and Jason. I think we should have access to them. I also know how much it costs to maintain a historical document.

Nick's suggestion of having Y/G/M together with historians and the people charged with looking after these documents is a great idea. It will make better scholars of Y/G/M and make better geeks of the people who look after the docs.

There are millions of artifacts lying in National Libraries, Museums etc that will never see the light of day in my lifetime and we therefore won't have access to them. These are bought with our tax money on our behalf and we will never see them unless something like this happens.

Where I disagree with Chirac and to that extent Bliar, Bush or anyone is that they should worry about their own country's documents. It is not up to Chirac to demand access to the British Library or the National Library of Scotland to digitize but it is up to them all to go to the best technical and [historical/artifacts looker afterer] minds and come up with, as Nick says, a standard.

Let's call it the "Let my people see" project.

My nomination for the best qu

My nomination for the best quote ever in relation to a historical document!

Quote:
" If I loan it to them for free, it’ll cut down the cost of decorating the parliament."

BTW and in all seriousness, thankyou for spending your own money and letting me see the document if I wanted to. It seriously means a lot to me!

Jason

In case you didn't know, the original cost of the Parliament was GBP40m. The final cost was GBP430m. It was a topical dig at the nice government which backfired because they don't want it.

I knew mate which is why I la

I knew mate which is why I laughed so much when I read it

More Book Digitization Projects

Gary Price emailed me this morning with some nice links to other projects, thanks Gary!

and this post by Roy Tennant who Gary says is a living legend in the library world, that's fairly damning for Google. It talks about how they've been less than forthcoming with details about their digitization project.

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