Thursday, October 12, 2006

UW-Madison libraries join Google book project

Latest news:

UW joining Google book project

October 12, 2006

UW-Madison is joining a rarified cadre of eight libraries that have joined Google's effort to digitize the world's books and make them searchable on the Internet.
Under an agreement signed Wednesday, the popular search engine company Google will add hundreds of thousands of the more than 7.2 million volumes at UW- Madison campus libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society to its controversial worldwide book digitization project, called Google Book Search.

UW-Madison and Google will share the operating costs of the project - for the university, that means covering the cost of selecting and pulling volumes off the shelves, boxing them for transport to Google offices in either Michigan or California for scanning and unpacking them afterward, said Edward Van Gemert, interim director of the UW-Madison General Library System.

"No money changes hands," he said. "But there are costs for each party. Where the material is going and how is all yet to be planned and determined."

The other seven libraries involved are Harvard University, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library, Oxford University, Stanford University, the University of California System, and, most recently, Madrid's Complutense University, the largest university library in Spain.

The U.S. Library of Congress is also conducting a pilot project with Google, and Google spokeswoman Megan Lamb said Wednesday the California-based company is eager to contract with other libraries. "We absolutely want to expand the program," launched in 2004, Lamb said.

Van Gemert said unlike the universities of California and Michigan, UW-Madison has decided to share only those volumes and materials that are in the public domain: books published before 1923, state and federal documents and works whose authors have consented to the process.

Article continues here...


At 9:17 AM, Blogger Frances said...

My first selfish thought was wondering whether any of us will be able to be involved in it... I'm sure that would mostly mean very menial scanning tasks, but it would still be pretty cool. I want to see the scanning robot Kevin Kelly described. And will they be scanning all of the collections? I work in the limnology library, where we're currently scanning lots of stuff ourselves-- how will that be affected? How great that they're also doing the Historical Society collections. I'm curious how the discussion about whether or not to "share" the materials we've already scanned with Google will proceed.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Becky Jean said...

It sounds like from the article, the scanning will all be done elsewhere (Michigan/UCLA). I'm interested to know if the collection will be all books before 1923 without copyright restrictions or if there is going to be a selection process. I understand the idea is to get as much as possible online. Also, working for the CDE library, I wonder how Google is dealing with the possibility of doubles. I'm sure some of what we have is duplicates of Michigan or one of the California state schools. Is there a master list? It seems silly to pay for scanning of something if it has already been scanned...but then again I think 1.6 billion is a lot to spend on YouTube.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Ardoin said...

Frances, I'm with you. How can we find out more, meet the people working on the project and/or get involved? Field trip anyone?

I hope we get a chance to learn more about this in class!

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Dave Z. said...

Ditto what Frances and Elissa have said. Either through class or on our own, I think it'd be neat to find out more about this.

Especially if they're hiring.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Von Burkhardt said...

Here's a link to a sight of one of those scanning robots in action. It is pretty amazing.


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