The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded a $2 million grant to the world's largest library for a program to digitize thousands of works (set to begin within a few months) with a major focus on "brittle books." Although Google and Microsoft have been applauded for their work, private companies typically try to avoid materials in vulnerable conditions. The new "Digitizing American Imprints" program seeks to identify the best practices for handling and scanning such books and collections. The library also plans to develop suitable page-turner display technology and the ability to scan and display book fold-outs. The new project will also digitize American history volumes, U.S. genealogy and regimental histories (including personal collections from the Civil War period) and six collections of rare books including the Benjamin Franklin Collection.
"It is inspiring to think that one of these books, many of which are in physical jeopardy, might spark the creativity of a future scholar or ordinary citizen who otherwise might not have had access to this wealth of human understanding," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
News source: Physorg