Looking for Revenue Opportunities in Microsoft’s Plans to Digitize British Library Materials

In an exclusive Information World Review interview: BL opens up to Microsoft and reveals revenue aims, Alistair Baker, Microsoft’s UK managing director, talks about both parties [The BL and Microsoft] investigating new business opportunities in the recently announced arrangement that will have MS scanning 25 million pages (about 100,000 books) of only out-of-copright material that will become available via MS Book Search, a memeber of the Open Content Alliance.

From the interview:

This is the start of a very long journey; in five years time the things people search for will be very different to today,? said Baker. ?The aim of this relationship is long term.?

Baker said there are real commercial possibilities based on the content held within libraries, and especially the British Library, that are not currently understood. ?There is a lot of interest in historical artefacts, but to go to the British Library you have to have a real desire to see something. By making those artefacts available online we will broaden the level of interest in them.?

Baker believes that recent largescale adoption of broadband internet connectivity will increase the interest in the BL holdings for research as well as enjoyment. ?Bill Gates sees this as a massive opportunity.?

Hmm. Since the recent announcement is about books from what Baker has to say perhaps MS and the BL are thinking about digitizing other types of objects?

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