What a wonderful launch party this evening! Directmedia has started a new company, zeno.org, that is in the process of putting lots of full-text, digitized texts online. They have been publishing books on CD-ROM/DVD for years - they take old books which are now in the public domain, scan them in, correct the text, wave their magic index wand over the mass, and make them searchable.

Now they are dumping everything online, and including a German-language copy of the Wikipedia in the search. This needs a little tuning - the search only gives a maximum of 400 hits, and for many terms, there are more than that on the Wikipedia. They need to have a button for "exclude Wikipedia". But there are some fun links in a "see also" box, in which a program tries to decide what could interest someone looking at the current keyword.

They are hoping to make money on the advertising - I wish them luck, it is really great to have all of these old texts online, things like old dictionaries and encyclopedias, works of literature and philosophy, some historical stuff and a lot of pictures. Interesting stuff here for sure.

The party included lots of Wikipedians, so it was just like our monthly pub night, but with good Kreuzberger food: Curry Wurst from Curry 36, Döner, vegetarian stuff, and some really, really good champagne. They were planning on having a garden party, but it has been pouring all day AND it is marathon in Berlin, so the caterer could not get through on time and we had to wait for the food. But it was really, really worth the wait.

I wish them luck - if this succeds everyone wins - more free content available, and they earn enough to pay for the servers and the scanning. If you want to sponsor a book that you feel is missing, they are willing to do it for you for a fee.

1 comment:

Achim said...

Danke für die guten Wünsche.

Gruß aus Kreuzberg vom Partyteam, Achim