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Google Collaborating With Universities On Digitized Library Project

Google Collaborating With Universities On Digitized Library Project

The Google search engine company has established agreements with Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Stanford University, Oxford University and the New York Public Library to scan their books and make the digitized contents searchable.

The project, which will probably take five or more years to complete, will deliver a database of volumes that Google users can search. Users will be able to download entire volumes in the database that are not under copyright protection. Books under copyright will be excerpted at varying lengths, depending on whether Google has agreements with their publishers to carry longer excerpts.

At the University of Michigan, the plan is to scan seven million titles over a six-year period using a nondestructive scanning technology that Google has developed. The university will also be given a copy of each file to use as they see fit. A “digitize the complete library” arrangement is also the current plan at Stanford and Oxford. The New York Public Library and Harvard will be running pilot projects with Google.

“The greatest good for Michigan will be in the sort of access that Google provides, and the copy of digital files that Michigan receives,” according to Nancy Connell, librarian at the University of Michigan.

Connell has explained that Google is paying for all of the scanning, and would compensate the university for the time its librarians spend pulling books off the shelves. She also says Google has developed special technology for the scanning that is minimally intrusive.

Harvard’s involvement in the program is a “pilot project” according to Peter Kosewski, director of publications and communications, Harvard University Libraries. For now, Harvard is allowing Google to digitize 40,000 titles. The university wants to use the project to learn about large-scale digitization projects.

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