3 February 2007
In a press release Wednesday, the Librarian of Congress announced a fantastic new project to digitize selected books from the collection:
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded the Library of Congress a $2 million grant for a program to digitize thousands of public-domain works, with a major focus on at-risk “brittle books” and U.S. history volumes.
The project, “Digitizing American Imprints at the Library of Congress,” will include not only the scanning of volumes, but also the development of suitable page-turner display technology, capability to scan and display foldouts, and a pilot program to capture high-level metadata, such as table of contents, chapters/sections and index …
“└˙Digitizing American Imprints' will make a major contribution to the collective body of knowledge that is accessible worldwide, further democratizing the information that is a key to functional societies and economies,” Dr. Billington said…
Among the items to be scanned are some of particular interest to Civil War historians including rare regimental histories, memoirs, and diaries as well as selections from the Confederate States of America Collection.
You’ll notice that the LoC will not be charging the public for access to this material, nor was a sell-out “partnership” with a commercial outfit required to obtain the resources to make it possible. This is worth crowing about. Some creative thinking and financing has gone into this effort and it ought to be rewarded.
All hail the Library of Congress and the folks at the Sloan Foundation.