Online Book Initiatives

As many of you probably already know, a number of projects have been underway to digitize books and make them available online. Google’s effort has probably generated the most recent publicity, due to copyright issues. Google has now released the beta version of Google Print, with only works in the public domain available in their entirety. However, many new works are listed in the search results, with cover images, table of contents, and even short excerpts available. The scans are so-so in quality, but no worse than your home scanner or a standard photocopier.

Microsoft is countering with a deal with the British Library to digitize about 25 million pages of content, with an initial scanning of 10,000 books. will be launching their “Amazon Pages” program next year, which will let people buy individual pages as well as entire books.

It will be interesting to see how book publishers react. According to an article at, Random House is already looking to negotiate deals to offer its book content for paid online viewing.

MIT project maps wireless use on campus in real-time

Researchers at MIT are utilizing the university’s newly upgraded wireless network to track wireless use on campus. They have developed electronic maps that track use across the campus, not only where people are logging in, but also what types of devices they are using. Using 3D mapping functionality, they can also distinguish connectivity in multistoried buildings.

Some of the maps generated by the research are being displayed in the school’s Museum. While their primary stated goal is understand use patterns to improve services, some of the other implications of the system are a little scary.

MIT iSPOTS website