Google is trying to create an online reading room for five major libraries by scanning stacks of hard-to-find books into its Internet search engine.
The initiative gives Google the right to index material from the New York public library as well as libraries at four top universities, Harvard, Stanford, Michigan, and Oxford in England.
Librarians are also excited about the prospect of creating a digital record for the reams of valuable material written long before anyone dreamed of computers.
But scanning the library books will be a difficult task. Michigan's library alone contains seven million volumes. Google hopes to get the job done at Michigan within six years.