WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

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National Digital Library Effort Gets $1M

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The Harvard University library is hoping to digitize books for a centralized national library.
Fang Guo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/44534236@N00/6425808881/)
The Harvard University library is hoping to digitize books for a centralized national library.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is providing a $1 million grant to launch a new nonprofit effort to digitize the nation's libraries and create a Digital Public Library of America, according to the Associated Press.

The grant, announced Thursday by endowment chairman Jim Leach, will help create the infrastructure for a national digital library. Digitizing books and building a common platform for libraries to contribute to will take years and millions more dollars from private partners. 

The project is being spearheaded by Harvard University's library in Cambridge, Mass. An independent board will be formed within two months to establish a new nonprofit to lead the effort, Leach tells AP.

Google's efforts to digitize books have at times been thwarted in court due to copyright laws. Those restrictions may also limit content for a digital public library. 

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