Micrsoft shuts book digitisation and search initiative

An interesting development over the weekend with Microsoft announcing in a blog post that it is to shut down its book digitisation and live search book programme launched in 2005. The Live Search blog states:

“Today we informed our partners that we are ending the Live Search Books and Live Search Academic projects and that both sites will be taken down next week. Books and scholarly publications will continue to be integrated into our Search results, but not through separate indexes. This also means that we are winding down our digitization initiatives, including our library scanning and our in-copyright book programs. We recognize that this decision comes as disappointing news to our partners, the publishing and academic communities, and Live Search users. ”

It will be interesting to see the response and implications for Microsoft’s major library partners such as the British Library. The BL and Microsoft partnership was launched in November 2005 and aimed to digitise 100,000 books from the collection – the digitisation programme is still underway. Note Microsoft also “….intend to provide publishers with digital copies of their scanned books. We are also removing our contractual restrictions placed on the digitized library content and making the scanning equipment available to our digitization partners and libraries to continue digitization programs.”

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