Columbia University Partners with Microsoft to Digitize Books

NEW YORK, January 29, 2008 Columbia University and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating on an initiative to digitize a large number of books from Columbia University Libraries and make them available to Internet users. With the support of the Open Content Alliance (OCA), publicly available print materials in Columbia Libraries will be scanned, digitized, and indexed to make them readily accessible through Live Search Books.

Columbia University and Microsoft are partners in the Open Content Alliance, along with the Boston Library Consortium, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Toronto among others. The alliance, which has made open access a core component of its mission, is scanning only out-of-copyright materials.

The initiative will allow students, researchers, and scholars to have global access to books in the public domain from the Libraries’ outstanding collections via Live Search Books. Published material in digital libraries offers an alternative and reliable source of information to that gleaned from general web searches.

Columbia University Libraries is playing a key role in book selection and in setting quality standards for the digitized materials. Microsoft will digitize selected portions of the Libraries’ great collections of American history, literature, and humanities works, with the specific areas to be decided mutually by Microsoft and Columbia during the early phase of the project.

Microsoft will give the Library high-quality digital images of all the materials, allowing the Library to provide worldwide access through its own digital library and to share the content with non-commercial academic initiatives and non-profit organizations.

“We're pleased to work with Microsoft to advance this major digitization effort through Live Search Books,” said James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University. “Digital libraries have the potential to make a collective cultural archive globally accessible. This initiative supports our mission to increase access to the Libraries’ collections.”

About Live Search Books
Live Search Books is advancing the way people search online by digitizing and indexing books from publishers and libraries around the world, supporting Microsoft’s overall efforts to precisely answer people’s questions with trusted content from the best possible sources. Live Search Books is a component of Microsoft’s Live Search service. Live Search delivers Internet search results organized onto a single page so that customers can quickly find what they are looking for and spend less time clicking through search results and other related Web sites. Live Search is available at Live Search Books is available at

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Columbia University - Microsoft Live Search Books Partnership