1 million scanned at U Mich

February 7, 2008

The University of Michigan libraries have now scanned and placed online 1 million books. As they detail here, that’s:

One million = 361,441,145 pages
One million = 42 terabytes
One million = 750 tons
One million = 146 miles

Here the Dean of Libraries at U of M talks a bit about why this is so darned cool, and what we can expected in the future.

A couple of months after I started working at my library, we had a party to celebrate the acquisition of our millionth book.  That took us 41 years, apparently.

A word came to mind for how digitization and the Web are changing intellectual work, and the word is leapfrogging. I have to think about why that’s apt more before I can articulate it, but that’s the image I had when I read about the millionth book. We all build off the work of others, and we have access to exponentially greater amounts of it every year. (Assuming that we can keep publishers at bay or at least stay brazen enough to push the boundaries of copyright further and further.)  I’m really pumped to think about what people out there might be able to do now that they can climb directly onto the back of all the UM people’s efforts and start from there. We’ll all think of something, I’m sure.


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