Million Book Project

Million Book Project

The Million Book Project (or the Universal Library), is a book digitization project, led by Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science and University Libraries.[1] Working with government and research partners in India (Digital Library of India) and China, the project is scanning books in many languages, using OCR to enable full text searching, and providing free-to-read access to the books on the web. As of 2007, they have completed the scanning of 1 million books and have made accessible the entire database from



Twenty-two scanning centers are operating in India, including four mega-centers. Eighteen centers are running in China, including a mega-center in a free-trade zone to avoid customs delays with shipments of books from the United States. Materials are also being scanned in Egypt, Hawaii, and Carnegie Mellon.

By December 2007 more than 1.5 million books had been scanned, in 20 languages: 970,000 in Chinese; 360,000 in English; 50,000 in Telugu; and 40,000 in Arabic.[2] Most of the books are in the public domain, but permission has been acquired to include over 60,000 copyrighted books (roughly 53,000 in English and 7,000 in Indian languages). The books are mirrored in part at sites in India, China, Carnegie Mellon, the Internet Archive, Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The books that have been scanned to date are not yet all available online, and no single site has copies of all the books that are available online.

The million book project will provide a wide array of content, but one of its collection strengths will be agriculture. In partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the United States National Agricultural Library, and university libraries with quality agriculture collections, the project is digitizing materials and developing plans for a knowledge network to improve rural community access to critical agricultural information.

Significant research is underway in the project, including OCR for Indian and Arabic languages and scripts. The research also includes developments in machine translation, automatic summarization, image processing, large-scale database management, user interface design, and strategies for acquiring copyright permission at an affordable cost. Indian partners have developed a translating and transliterating user interface. Partners in Egypt are developing an interface that supports annotation and highlighting. Partners in China have made remarkable progress on content-based image retrieval and machine analysis of calligraphic scripts. Carnegie Mellon has taken strides in machine translation and automatic summarization.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Carnegie Mellon $3.63M over four years for equipment and administrative travel for the Million Book Project. India is providing $25M annually to support language translation research projects. The Ministry of Education in China is providing $8.46M over three years. The Internet Archive has provided equipment, staff and money. The University of California Libraries at Merced funded the work to acquire copyright permission from U.S. publishers.

India, China, and the USA agreed in November 2005 to join the Open Content Alliance (OCA), initiated by Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive, because the goals of the OCA are consistent with those of the Million Book Project and the Universal Digital Library.

Partner institutions


The institutions in China which are participants in this project include:[1]


The institutions in India which are participants in this project include:[1]


The institutions in the U.S. which are participants include:[1]

See also


External links

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