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MSN Book Search Set for Next Year

MSN joined Yahoo and Google today in the great online searchable book race as the online portal announced their new MSN Book Search feature. They also announced plans to join the Open Content Alliance, an organization wanting to “build a permanent archive of multilingual digitized text and multimedia content”.

MSN’ new Book Search feature will allow Internet users to search content from books, academic materials, periodicals and other print resources. Searchable materials will be drawn at first from the public domain, with Microsoft emphasizing they are planning to clearly respect all copyrights related to other materials they will later attempt to digitize for searching.

A public beta of MSN Book Search will be available next year. Microsoft, who is working with the Internet Archive to digitize the material, said they would eventually also begin adding other types of offline content.

“With MSN Book Search, we are excited to be working with libraries worldwide to digitize and index information from the world’s printed materials, taking another step in our efforts to better answer people’s questions with trusted content from the best sources,” said Christopher Payne, corporate vice president of MSN Search at Microsoft Corp, in a statement. “We believe people will benefit from the ability to not just view a page, but to easily act on that data in contextually relevant ways, both online in the search experience and in the applications they are using.”

In regards to the OCA, MSN will work with the organization to scan and digitize publicly available print materials, as well as work with copyright owners to legally scan protected materials.

“The goal of the OCA archive is to digitize and make available globally sourced digital collections, including multimedia content, representing the creative output of humankind,” said Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and founder of the Internet Archive. “We are proud that MSN is working with the OCA in the shared vision of creating a better, more relevant search experience for people around the world.”