Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

Microsoft announced Friday that it was ending a project to scan millions of books and scholarly articles and make them available on the Web. It's expected that it's book search site will be taken down sometime this week. So far, Microsoft said it had digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may . . . .

Both Microsoft and Google have been scanning older books that have fallen into the public domain, as well as copyright-protected books under agreements with some publishers. I have used both sites in researching Louise Brooks, Frank Wedekind, silent film, and Jazz Age topics. And, I have found a bunch of stuff - including vintage reviews of Brooks' films in obscure trade journals like Educational Screen. I was also able to download a whole lot of early books on film. It's a pleasure to have Movies and Conduct, a book from 1933 about the effect of the movies on youth. (Louise Brooks is mentioned.)

Admittedly, I am an information junkie. Microsoft's discontinuation of this project is a sad thing.

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