Microsoft will be launching its beta version of Live Search Books to go head to head with Google Book Search today.

The company has been scanning in books that have fallen out of copyright to allow the full text to be searched in the same way that Windows Live Search searches the Internet.

The books contained in the beta release are from the collections of the British Library, the University of California, and the University of Toronto. More books are being scanned from the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, and the New York Public Library; additionally, copyrighted works that have been given the all-clear by publishers will also be included.

When the tool comes out of beta, the material will also be searchable from the main Windows Live Search page, rather than being a separate search engine.

"As we move out of beta, what you will see is that book content integrated with the web content [search results on Windows Live Search]”, said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of Live Search Selection to silicon.com.

“What we are focusing more of our efforts on for live searching is integrating all of those content types together to give you the most relevant results. Sometimes the most relevant will be from books. If, for example, it's a search on historical content, chances are the most authoritative content may be found in a book."