The world’s largest computer search engine will soon begin the digitalisation of Denmark’s literature for The Royal Library.
The issue of the Google Books Library Project, or Google’s plans to make available on the web scanned versions of the world’s libraries, has met with strong criticism from publishers, booksellers and authors who fear for copyright, censorship and data privacy. Further concerns are held over Google’s stated aim of “democratising information,” much in the same fashion as Wikipedia.
However, the Danish library says that the decision was merely financial and that it could not raise funds from the state for the digitalisation and preservation of its literary history. Library Curator Erland Kolding Nielsen has estimated that half a billion kroner was required to preserve works in digital form that were published before 2000. The Danish parliament has only been able to offer DKK 7 million over the next 3 years for the project, reports The Copenhagen Post.
“I’m offering Google approximately 1.6 million volumes for scanning,” Nielsen stated. “Currently they have around 10 million volumes and their goal is to reach 30 million”.
Nielsen argued that not digitising the collection would be a frightening alternative for the Danish language. ”I believe Danish culture and Danish material on the web would disappear in the Anglo-Saxon deluge,” he claimed. “Our language would shrink even more from sight”.
The move was welcomed by the Danish government according to Carina Christensen, the Culture Minister. “Considering the sheer size of the task we face, it’s very important that we also have non-governmental resources helping to do the work,” Christensen said. “But what’s important – and this is something that EU countries have highlighted several times – is that our cultural heritage remains ours even in digital form”.