Well not exactly, but the WSJ
[May 12, France Leads an Assault on Google --- A Rival European Project To Scan Millions of Books Aims to Offset U.S. Culture
] reports of the French efforts to lead an assault on Google in the book scanning project of the search engine giant.
In case you don't know what's this all about, Google has announced a few months ago its intention of digitalizing millions of books in US and UK libraries and make them available on the web. While this is a great initiative, some voices in France warned that this would provide an Anglo-American view of history only and the counter-offensive started: last week, the EU commission has pledged €60 millions to an European project to scan 5 millions book in the next 5 years.
The WSJ then comments on the European initiative and writes:
The University of Michigan, whose seven-million-book library Google is scanning, says it has extensive international collections, including roughly 250,000 volumes each in French and German. "When you consider the buying habits of large research libraries, the [European] `fears' are simply naive," says John Wilkin, an associate university librarian.
Sorry what? The 'fears are naive'... May be I didn't read the numbers correctly but 250,000 volumes out of 7 millions is completely insignificant so I think the Europeans are right to be concerned about this project and one way or the other, we must be able to read French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and many more other volumes on the web in addition to the US and British ones.
What is a bit worrying is that it's European public money that is going to be used for this initiative whereas in the States, it's Google's money who is undertaking the project. But the sad fact is that there is definitely no player in the IT industry in Europe capable of undertaking this kind of project so we have to rely on public funds for now.