Yahoo Starts a Book Collection

The search giant has started a book scanning project to rival Google Print. As they duel, it's becoming clear that search engines are emphasizing quality, not quantity, of their search results.

Internet search giant Yahoo, along with several universities and two European archives, say they intend to make books available on the Internet later this year.

The entities, known collectively as the OCA (Open Content Alliance), represent how major search engines like Google, which has a similar project called Google Print, now emphasize the quantity of search results, rather than the size of the information available for searching.

The OCA says that by years end, it will make its first collection of books available through a specially designed search engine available at, and perhaps later through the general Yahoo search portal.

The first books will be from the University of California. OReilly Media, a publisher of technology books, and two archives in Europe, the National Archive in Britain and the European Archive, will also open up their collections, but havent yet decided what materials to make available.

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The OCA is the latest effort to make books available online. The University of Pennsylvania, Cornell and Oak Knoll Press, among others, have already digitized large book collections and made them available for viewing or searching.

Google Print and the Yahoo intend to take this a step further by incorporating all or part of the books into their own search results.

In this way, the OCA specifically can piggyback on the efforts of these universities, according to Sally Morris, chief executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, an association of nonprofit publishers.

Google Print began the laborious process of digitizing three different university book collections way before Yahoos OCA, giving Google the competitive edge. But copyright concerns eventually slowed the Google Print effort.

Google was forced to halt the project to get permission from authors to put their books online, which they at first didnt seek. The project resumes Nov. 1.

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In a departure from Google Print, the OCA said it intends to get the copyright holders permission first. The OCA also intends to share its archives with other search engines; while Google Print will only be available through Google.

"This project is breathtaking in its scope," search engine Web site editor Tara Calishain writes about the OCA. "But its early in the game. We have at the moment one announcement, many companies, lots of breathless quotes, and zero content."

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