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VL Overview

Virtual Libraries or Digital Libraries potentially offer the easiest, cheapest, just-in-time on-demand access to digital copies of books for the most students, instructors, scholars, and researchers located anywhere in the world with a computer with Internet access.  Anyone and any institution with a traditional library of hard-bound and soft-bound (paperback) books can now make their own virtual (digital) library on their own for less than $1000 (US) in hardware and software expenses.  However, some "big players" seek to co-opt the process, do most of the digitizing work "for us", and then sell the digital results back to us at a price they choose.

For example Google, Inc. the search engine company aspires to digitize over 40 million books not covered by U.S. copyright law in the next several years.  As of the end of 2009 Google already has digitized over 12 million books out-of-print or that have unverifiable copyright holders.  These books come from the Stanford U., University of California and University of Michigan libraries. Unfortunately, Google stands to win a legal monopoly ownership and control of the eventual 40 million digitzed books in their version of a "world library".