Microsoft launches book scanning project

Deal with top speed-scanning company may mean a huge leap in digital books, but Redmond isn't touching copyright materials.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor

In the race to digitize the entire literary canon, Microsoft has announced a deal with high-speed scanning company Kirtas Technologies to scan works for Microsoft's Live Book Search Web-based application, the Financial Times says.

The partnership with Kirtas, maker of high-speed scanners and editing software, puts Microsoft in the running with Google's effort put 15 million books on the Web. Microsoft, starting late in the digital book scanning game, has a long way to catch up.

Google has already forged library partnerships with Stanford, Michigan and Harvard universities, in addition to the New York Public Library, but the project has been embroiled in copyright issues.

Microsoft isn't delving into the murky waters of copyright disputes and is only scanning books already in the public domain. Microsoft has also created a tool for publishers wishing to make in-copyright material available.

Kirtas, makers of the fastest robotic scanner in the world, allows up to 2,400 pages to be digitally scanned and stored per hour. This represents a speed of about eight minutes per book.

"We deliver a speed and quality that neither Google nor any other company can match,"said Lotfi Belkhir, chief executive officer of Kirtas Technologies.
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