Microsoft has joined a Yahoo-backed effort to digitise the world's books and other works to make them searchable and accessible to anyone online.
The software giant said it would work with the Open Content Alliance (OCA), set up by the Internet Archive, to initially put 150,000 works online.
The move comes as Google faces growing legal pressure from publishers over its own global digital library plans.
Microsoft said it would initially focus on works already in the public domain.
This way, it hopes to avoid similar legal issues over copyright.
Google said in a statement that it welcomed the move to make more information accessible to anyone online.
In the meanwhile earlier this month, the Association of American Publishers filed a lawsuit in New York claiming Google's Print Library Project plans would infringe their copyrights.
Google's project would involve digitising millions of works from Harvard, Stanford, and Michigan universities to make them searchable.
Once the texts were digitised, users would not be able to download or print the whole book, but would be able to view a few sentences from each.
Copyright holders have been given a deadline of 1 November if they do not want their books to be scanned, BBC reports.
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