Wednesday, November 23, 2005

TECHNOLOGY: Google donates $3 million to "American Memory" digitized Library of Congress materials
Tuesday, November 22, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Google Inc. is giving $3 million (euro2.54 million)
to the U.S. Library of Congress to help set up a system for creating
digital copies of rare documents from around the world _ the latest step
in Google's crusade to expand the amount of information that can be
indexed by its Internet-leading search engine.

With the donation announced Tuesday, Google becomes the first business to
back the ''World Digital Library,'' a concept that began to take shape
about five months ago.

The worldwide program is loosely modeled after the Library of Congress'
American Memory project launched 11 years ago.

Backed with $48 million (euro40.64 million) in private donations and a $15
million (euro12.7 million) infusion from the federal government, the
American Memory site at now has more than 10 million
items, including early maps of the United States as well as photos and
letters from the Civil War.

Librarian of Congress James Billington now wants to create similar sites
devoted to other cultures outside the United States and Europe.

Although nothing has been finalized, Billington initially envisions
devoting large sections of the World Digital Library to material from
China, India and Islam.

''Much of this will be one-of-a-kind material that you won't be able to
find anywhere else,'' Billington said during a Monday interview. ''Getting
the material out there (online) is really important. ''We have already
preserved a lot of material that might have perished in other hands.''

Google co-founder Sergey Brin characterized the donation as no-brainer for
his Mountain View, California-based company as it pursues its avowed
mission ''to organize the world's information and make it universally
accessible and useful.''

''This is a philanthropic initiative for us,'' Brin said during a Monday
interview. ''It's all about making more information available to more

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