Google Books Project Promises Discovery of IU's Unique Collections
What if the all the books of the Big Ten libraries were available online and fully searchable—as easy to search as Web pages are today?
Imagine the possibilities: researchers would be able to search every word in every volume. Freed from the constraints of the print-based world in which only brief records in card catalogs, tables of contents, and indexes can be searched electronically, researchers would be able to search full text and make connections across works that would have taken weeks—even years—to make in the past.
This promise of discovery is the dream for Indiana University and our peer libraries in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (the academic side of the Big Ten), who recently entered into a collective agreement with Google to digitize the libraries’ distinctive book collections.These collections will be scanned into digital format and made available online in a project estimated to take 7 to 10 years.
Moreover, these materials will be part of a first-of-its-kind “shared digital repository”—a giant holding place for the online books—that will allow IU to archive and access the full content of out-of-copyright works from all CIC institutions.
The plan makes good sense for IU. With careful regard for authors’ and publishers’ copyrights, the Google Books Library Project aims to make it easier for people to find relevant books. Libraries like ours, which have invested hundreds of millions of dollars and hundreds of years collecting books, share this goal.
“Participation in the Google Books Project is a gift to the IU Libraries and to all book lovers who will have access through the Internet,” says Patricia Steele, Ruth Lilly Interim Dean of University Libraries. “By introducing additional ways to discover books, the project will increase the use of one of the university’s most valuable assets—our unique and irreplaceable collections, acquired over centuries.”
Google has signed partnership agreements with Harvard University, the University of Michigan, the New York Public Library, Oxford University, Stanford University, the University of California System, and Madrid’s Complutense University, the largest university library in Spain. In October 2006, the University of Wisconsin at Madison became the eighth library to join the Google Book Search Project. Since then, other contracts have been effected, including the University of Virginia and the University of Texas at Austin. The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) became the first multi-institution Google partner.
The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is a consortium of 12 research universities, advancing their missions by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources and collaborating on innovative programs.