Google Tries Converting Every Book into Digital Format

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via NY Times

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Ben Zimmer, executive producer of a Web site and software package called the Visual Thesaurus, was seeking the earliest use of the phrase “you’re not the boss of me.” Using a newspaper database, he had found a reference from 1953.

But while using Google’s book search recently, he found the phrase in a short story contained in “The Church,” a periodical published in 1883 and scanned from the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Ever since Google began scanning printed books four years ago, scholars and others with specialized interests have been able to tap a trove of information that had been locked away on the dusty shelves of libraries and in antiquarian bookstores.

According to Dan Clancy, the engineering director for Google book search, every month users view at least 10 pages of more than half of the one million out-of-copyright books that Google has scanned into its servers. Continue reading

Plastic Logic Readies “Flexible” eNewspaper

via NY Times

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The electronic newspaper, a large portable screen that is constantly updated with the latest news, has been a prop in science fiction for ages. It also figures in the dreams of newspaper publishers struggling with rising production and delivery costs, lower circulation and decreased ad revenue from their paper product.

While the dream device remains on the drawing board, Plastic Logic will introduce publicly on Monday its version of an electronic newspaper reader: a lightweight plastic screen that mimics the look — but not the feel — of a printed newspaper.

The device, which is unnamed, uses the same technology as the Sony eReader and Amazon.com’s Kindle, a highly legible black-and-white display developed by the E Ink Corporation. While both of those devices are intended primarily as book readers, Plastic Logic’s device, which will be shown at an emerging technology trade show in San Diego, has a screen more than twice as large. The size of a piece of copier paper, it can be continually updated via a wireless link, and can store and display hundreds of pages of newspapers, books and documents. Continue reading