President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged nearly $1.1 billion on Monday toward the computer scanning of French literary works, audiovisual archives and historical documents, an announcement that underscored his government’s desire to maintain control over France’s cultural heritage in an era of digitization.
The French National Library announced in August that it was engaged in discussions with Google over the digitization of its collections, part of a global effort by Google to digitize the world’s literary works. This provoked an uproar among French officials and the publishing community here, and the discussions were suspended. ...
The money pledged Monday will finance a public-private partnership that will digitize the nation’s cultural works, Mr. Sarkozy said. Yet that partnership might well involve Google.
“The question remains open,” said Bruno Racine, president of the National Library, in a telephone interview. He emphasized the “necessity of a partnership with the private sector” in order to secure the capital needed for vast digitization projects.
He put the cost of digitizing the National Library’s collections, which include over 14 million books and several million other documents, at more than $1.5 billion. ...
The $1.1 billion pledged by Mr. Sarkozy is part of a $51 billion stimulus package, announced Monday ...
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.