In January Columbia University and Microsoft Corporation signed an agreement to digitize a large number of books from the Libraries and make them available to Internet users with the support of the Open Content Alliance (OCA). The first books are now available online through the Internet Archive. To see Columbia’s digital books, go to http://www.archive.org/details/ColumbiaUniversityLibraries.
New books are added regularly as the project moves ahead, and soon they will also be made available through Microsoft’s Live Search Books at http://books.live.com. At a later stage of the project Columbia will begin providing links from CLIO records to the digital books.
Columbia University and Microsoft are partners in the Open Content Alliance, along with the Boston Library Consortium, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Toronto, among others. The alliance, which has made open access a core component of its mission, is scanning only out-of-copyright materials. The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded in 1996 to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format.
For more on the project see the original announcement at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/news/libraries/2008/2008-01-29.microsoft.html, or go to the FAQ at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/news/libraries/2008/2008-02-01.microsoftfaq.html.