Search inside a book

Imaging being able to find obscure citations by searching the entire contents of a library (all those books!) ... from a computer terminal. Now imagine doing it from your home, when the library is "online" at Amazon.com. That's the idea behind Amazon's latest project, launched last week. This tool allows you to search 33 million pages of 120,000 books -- and this is just the beginning. These are not eBooks -- what is returned from the search are "pictures" of the pages, not unlike Amazon's "look inside" feature. There are limits to how many pages a customer can search, both on a per book and calendar year basis. Links: Authors Guild; Search Engine Watch; Seattle P-I; San Jose Mercury News; Reuters; Amazon press release, letter from Bezos, and FAQ.continue reading →

MIT debuts music-swap

On Monday, MIT debuted a system that lets students listen to 3,500 CDs over the school's cable television network. Since this is analogous to broadcasting songs over the radio, the license is relatively inexpensive (the cost of the MP3s). The MIT project is called "Library Access to Music" or "LAMP." Students can select 80 minutes of music from a playlist; the music is then piped through one of 12 channels into the student's room. The music can be played through a TV, a laptop with an audio jack, or external speakers. Rather than negotiate the headaches of digital copyright, the student project (funded by a Microsoft grant) purchased MP3s of 3,500 CDs that their fellow classmates had suggested in a prior survey; the purchase, through Seattle-based Loudeye, was authorized by the National Music Publishers Association's licensing arm. Links: CBS/AP; San Jose Mercury News; USA Today; LAMP web site; MIT Press…continue reading →