According to an article on BBC news (although there is no sign of this on the BL’s press release pages)
More than 100,000 old books previously unavailable to the public will go online thanks to a mass digitisation programme at the British Library.
The programme focuses on 19th-Century books, many of which are unknown as few were reprinted after first editions.
There is not too much information about the project but it is obviously has the hand of Microsoft – the initial delivery mechanism will be Microsoft’s Live Book Search. There are no dates mentioned concerning when the books will become available online.
It’s interesting to see the different access models used by the British Library for their various collections. EEBO (Early English Books Online) is available at a price; its nineteenth-century newspapers will be free to the university and college sector in the UK but other users will have to pay, while this project seems like it will be freely available online.
I suppose this reflects the amount of money that partners are prepared to pump into BL digitisatition projects; and this in case Microsoft is supplying plenty of cash to to make the nineteenth-century books freely available. How else can Microsoft try and keep up with Google?
Holland’s National Archives and National Library have announced the launch of an important tool which could save several old computer files from a digital grave.
The Koninklijke Bibliotheek – national library of the Netherlands – and the Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands are proud to present the world’s first emulator designed for digital preservation: Dioscuri.
Dioscuri is capable of emulating an Intel 8086-based computer platform with support for VGA-graphics, screen, keyboard, and storage devices like a virtual floppy drive and hard drive. With these components Dioscuri successfully runs 16-bit operating systems like MS-DOS and applications such as WordPerfect 5.1, DrawPerfect 1.1 and Norton Commander. Furthermore, it is capable of running many nostalgic DOS-games and a simple Linux kernel. And when you finally open your long-forgotten WP5.1-files you can extract the text from the emulated environment into your current working environment using a simple clipboard-feature.
Hopefully, this work can be built upon. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a national Computer Museum (whether this is virtual or physical) where people could send orphaned files to be rescued?
The JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and the US’s National Endowment for the Humanities are providing matched funding for digitisation projects.
According to the JISC website:
A call for proposals was issued today by JISC and the US’s National Endowment for the Humanities to support collaborative digitisation projects by UK and US scholars. The aim of the £360,000 ($730,000) programme is to unite scholarly collections split between the two countries, explore innovative approaches to digitisation and match expertise in one country with collections to be digitised in the other.
The programme is funding Transatlantic Digitisation Collaboration Grants which will be awarded to one-to-one partnerships in the US and England with the possibility that these grants will provide the foundation for larger-scale partnerships in the future.
The JISC guidelines are already online. The NEH’s are due to follow shortly.
JISC is publishing the podcast interviews with guest speakers at its JISC Digitisation Conference, held in the summer this year.
Joyce Ray, of the US’ Institute of Museum and Library Services, which funds various digitisation projects , gave a perspective on some of the challenges facing funders in the digitisation of high-quality content for education and other sectors.
Meanwhile, Kevin Guthrie of Ithika, speaks about why international collaboration is important to the digitisation of scholarly resources and what the US and the UK can learn from each other.