PRINCETON, N.J. — March 6, 2008 — Princeton Theological Seminary and Microsoft Corp. have entered into an agreement to digitize a large number of materials in the public domain from the collection of the Seminary library. This initiative will enable the library to contribute religion content to Microsoft’s Live Search Books service and thus increase worldwide access to its historic religion collection.
Princeton Seminary President Iain Torrance said, “This seminary exists to serve the church both near and far. Continuity, depth, and access are what make a library great. Microsoft will help us to be accessible as never before. We are really grateful for their partnership.”
This initiative is one of the most significant ventures in the Seminary’s history. Collaboration with Microsoft and its groundbreaking technologies, which are designed to assist discovery and use, continues the Seminary’s investment in enhancing online resources. Microsoft will give the Seminary digital copies of all the materials and allow them to be shared with noncommercial institutions and nonprofit organizations, which will enable the Seminary to advance in a remarkably concrete way the vision of a theological library for the world, and enable students, researchers, and scholars global access to Princeton Theological Seminary books in the public domain.
One of the Seminary’s goals in this project is to bring online some of the treasures in its library collection representing, for example, religious texts from the early history of printing, editions of John Calvin and John Knox, writings of the Puritans, and hymn verses of Isaac Watts.
The digitization is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2008 and will cover the scanning of thousands of books. Microsoft is scanning only out-of-copyright materials, focusing primarily on pre-1923 content. The digitization will be performed by the Internet Archive, which has made open access a core component of its mission.
Participation in the Microsoft initiative marks a singular milestone on the way to the Seminary’s bicentennial in 2012, and the library takes pleasure in working in this exciting and challenging collaboration with Microsoft and the Internet Archive. “Nothing the library has done in the past has the potential to open the richness of our collection to the wider world as much as the Microsoft initiative,” said Stephen D. Crocco, James Lenox Librarian of the Seminary. “We are extremely pleased to be sharing in this collaboration with Microsoft and the Internet Archive.”
Princeton Seminary’s Vice President for Information Technology Adrian Backus agreed. “With the burgeoning demand of the worldwide church and research communities’ need to collaborate on matters of critical interest, this Microsoft-Princeton Seminary large-scale digital initiative will allow our constituencies and publics to access, search, browse and find pertinent information in pursuit of mutual objectives. We are proud to have the necessary technical and organizational infrastructure to support this partnership,” he said.
About Live Search Books
Live Search Books is advancing the way people search online by digitizing and indexing books from publishers and libraries around the world, supporting Microsoft’s overall efforts to precisely answer people’s questions with trusted content from the best possible sources. Live Search Books is a component of Microsoft’s Live Search service. Live Search delivers rich Internet search results, organized so that customers can quickly and easily find what they are searching for. Live Search is available at http://www.live.com.
About Princeton Theological Seminary
Established in 1812, Princeton Theological Seminary has a library with a collection now totaling more than 1,180,000 books, periodicals, manuscripts, and microforms that represents one of the nation’s premier religion collections.
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