Library of Congress Enters the Digitization Race

by Staff

The Library of Congress recently announced that it will digitize thousands of public domain books in its collection, including many that librarians have deemed "brittle" and in danger of becoming unusable. The "Digitizing American Imprints" program, funded by a two million dollar grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is expected to begin in a few months. The project will focus on six groups of rare books, including the Benjamin Franklin Collection, selected first editions from the Library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Division, and volumes on American history and U.S. genealogy.

The Library will use part of the grant money to develop technologies and strategies for scanning the vulnerable works. While Google and the Open Content Alliance (in partnership with companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Adobe) have launched their own digitization projects, they have not focused on deteriorating books because of the more complicated scanning process.