Microsoft and the British Library have come together to make 100,000 of the institution's titles available online. The deal covers some 25 million pages which will be made available as part of Microsoft's book search service, next year.
This is the software giant's second foray into digital archiving: it is already working with the Open Content Alliance to make 150,000 titles available online, and the BBC reports that the company is already planning to extend its work with the British Library.
"This is great news for research and scholarship and will give unparalleled access to our vast collections to people all over the world: they will be available to anyone, anywhere and at anytime," British Library chief executive Lynne Brindley told the BBC.
Unlike Google's digital library project, all the titles Microsoft plans to scan are out of copyright, and so can be digitised with none of the legal wrangling that the search giant is enduring.
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is suing Google over its plans to make scans of millions of books available online. The company is also facing legal action from the Authors Guild and a former US poet Laureate.
Google says it will focus its initial efforts on works that are no longer in copyright, but will not rule out digitising in-print titles at a later stage. ®