Library of Congress to get digitized

Washington (DC) - So-called "brittle books" are at the forefront of a new federal initiative aiming to digitize documents and books at the Library of Congress, in a $2 million project that is expected to begin in the next couple months.

Planned for the original set of scans are titles that are upwards of 250 years old, including Civil War-era memoirs, archived American history books, and six collections of rare books, which include the original Benjamin Franklin Collection.

The project is reminiscent of what Google and MSN have been trying to get off the ground for a while, though the initiatives from other sites have more of a focus on works that are available for widespread public access.

"It is inspiring to think that one of these books, many of which are in physical jeopardy, might spark the creativity of a future scholar or ordinary citizen who otherwise might not have had access to this wealth of human understanding," said James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress.

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