November 19th, 2008 | Published in Google Books
Today, we learned of some good news for the promotion of culture and reading: the European Commission launched an important online project called Europeana. This European Commission effort creates a common access point to Europe's digitized resources. Over time, it plans to grow to include six million items, including film, photos, paintings, sounds, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and archives. The collection will include everything from the Spanish National Library's Beatus commentaries from the 10th century to the Greek National Library's original publications of Homer's epics and hymns to the Danish Library's portrait collection dating from the 17th century.
Digitization projects like Europeana send a strong signal that authors, publishers, libraries and technology companies can work together to democratize access to the world's collective knowledge. The more of these projects, the easier it will be for readers and researchers around the world to be able to search books and other materials that now are scattered throughout the globe and and difficult to access.
As we move ahead with Google Book Search, we look forward to finding new ways to collaborate on initiatives such as Europeana -- and taking part in what could become the biggest technological leap in disseminating knowledge since Gutenberg invented the printing press.