MSN Search today announced its intention to launch MSN® Book Search, which will support MSN Search’s efforts to help people find exactly what they’re looking for on the Web, including the content from books, academic materials, periodicals and other print resources. MSN Search intends to launch an initial beta of this offering next year. MSN also intends to join the Open Content Alliance (OCA) and work with the organization to scan and digitize publicly available print materials, as well as work with copyright owners to legally scan protected materials.
“With MSN Book Search, we are excited to be working with libraries worldwide to digitize and index information from the world’s printed materials, taking another step in our efforts to better answer people’s questions with trusted content from the best sources,” said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of MSN Search at Microsoft Corp. “We believe people will benefit from the ability to not just view a page, but to easily act on that data in contextually relevant ways, both online in the search experience and in the applications they are using.”
MSN will first make available books that are in the public domain and is working with the Internet Archive to digitize the material. MSN will then work to extend its offering to other types of offline content. The digitized content will primarily be print material that has not been copyrighted, and Microsoft will clearly respect all copyrights and work with each partner providing the information to work out mutually agreeable protections for copyrights.
MSN Book Search will help address the fact that over 50 percent of people’s online queries go unanswered today on search engines, according to internal Microsoft® research. This effort will enrich people’s search experiences, allowing them to access and interact with previously unavailable digitized data in contextually relevant ways, such as facilitating book club interactions or informal family reading, indexing images, or using graphics, keywords and other features to allow for better and faster retrieval of information.
The volume of information to be made available is tremendous. From offline sources, including radio, television and books, almost 800 megabytes of information is produced per person, per year in the U.S., according to “How Much Information,” a University of California, Berkeley study.
The OCA represents the collaborative efforts of a group of cultural, technological, nonprofit and governmental organizations from around the world that are helping to build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content.
“The goal of the OCA archive is to digitize and make available globally sourced digital collections, including multimedia content, representing the creative output of humankind,” said Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and founder of the Internet Archive. “We are proud that MSN is working with the OCA in the shared vision of creating a better, more relevant search experience for people around the world.”
Microsoft will be collaborating with organizations, educational institutions and libraries throughout the world to build a rich index of information, which it believes will foster the delivery of trusted content from the best sources, not just Web pages. While MSN Book Search will begin with books, Microsoft expects the initiative to branch out to include all types of offline content