The Million Book Digital Library Project

Raj Reddy, Carnegie Mellon University

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University October 10, 2003

Increases in storage densities and falling costs make it possible to envision a future when all the publicly available human knowledge is made available to anyone, anywhere at anytime. In spite of determined praiseworthy efforts for two decades, projects such as Guttenberg have only been able capture a few thousand books accessible online. At a rate of under a thousand books per year, the estimated 100 million books ever published in the world will take 100,000 years to digitize. And we may never be able to catch up with the ever increasing new publications. Capturing born-digital publications at the time of creation (by requiring publishers to submit a digital copy as well the currently mandated physical copy) and scanning all the older publications at a rate of million books per year is one of the solutions being explored at this time to resolve this conundrum.

Digitizing a million books a year requires finding, scanning, processing, and storing in a web accessible form about 5000 books every day. The million book project is an attempt to understand and solve the technical, economic and social policy issues of providing online access to all creative works of the human race. This talk will provide a status report on the Million Books Project.

Dr. Raj Reddy is the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Computer Science and Robotics in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and the Director of Carnegie Mellon West. He began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at Stanford in 1966. He has been a member of the Carnegie Mellon faculty since 1969. He served as the founding Director of the Robotics Institute from 1979 to 1991 and the Dean of School of Computer Science from 1991 to 1999. Dr. Reddy's research interests include the study of human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. His current research projects include spoken language systems; gigabit networks; universal digital libraries; and distance learning on demand.He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was president of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence from 1987 to 89. Dr. Reddy was awarded the Legion of Honor by President Mitterand of France in 1984. He was awarded the ACM Turing Award in 1994. He served as co-chair of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC) from 1999 to 2001.


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