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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 October 2006, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Google launches literacy portal
Google Literacy Project screengrab
The project aims to pool literacy information
Search engine Google has launched a portal to connect literacy organisations around the world.

The Literacy Project enables teachers, organisations, and those interested in literacy to use the internet to search for and share literacy information.

The new online service was announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

Users can search for information in digitised books and academic articles, and share information through blogs, videos and groups.

A global problem deserves a global solution
Karin Plötz, Litcam

The tool also allows people to find literacy organisations around the world using a searchable and zoomable map.

It has been created in collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair literacy campaign (Litcam) and Unesco's Institute for Lifelong Learning.

Jessica Powell, European corporate communications manager at Google, said: "Our objective at Google is to organise the world's information and to make it accessible to everyone.

"We think the internet has an important role to play in terms of accessing information."

This was especially important for areas such as literacy, she added.

Copyright wrangles

Karin Plötz, from Litcam, said: "A global problem deserves a global solution, and we believe that cooperation and the sharing of best practices is key in the fight against illiteracy."

The move ties in with the search engine giant's foray into the literary world: Google Book Search.

Users can now use it to search through an archive of digitised books to uncover the literature that contains their words of phrases of choice.

Publishers, such as Penguin and HarperCollins, and libraries, including Oxford University's, have allowed Google to scan their books.

If the book is in copyright, users can only access limited information; if it is out of copyright, it can be downloaded.

But it is not without its critics. Some believe Google is infringing copyright law by digitising works without the copyright holders' permission, in fact the Authors Guild of America, the Association of American Publishers and publishing company La Martiniere is suing the company.

But the search engine claims that by only revealing snippets of text, no copyright is being violated.

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