Jeremy Kirk at InfoWorld:
The scanning race has started: Microsoft announced an agreement Friday to scan 25 million pages from the British Library’s collection that will eventually be made available on its MSN Book Search site next year.
Around 100,000 books from the British Library’s 13 million book collection will be digitized, according to a joint press release. MSN Book Search, launched earlier this month, is scheduled for a beta release next year.
The agreement comes as Microsoft’s competitors, such as Google and Yahoo, are aggressively moving toward compiling online libraries of books amid copyright concerns. The titles to be scanned at the British Library are no longer under copyright restrictions.
MSN said last week it is talking with libraries and publishers about offering copyrighted material in its index. Microsoft eventually plans to build a business model around the search service for copyright works, but so far has said it doesn’t intend to charge for searches of noncopyrighted material.