What’s the goal of this project?
The Library Project’s aim is simple: make it easier for people to find relevant books – specifically, books they wouldn’t find any other way such as those that are out of print – while carefully respecting authors’ and publishers’ copyrights. Our ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers discover new readers. See: Google Books
I was asked by my daughter about one of these devices whether I preferred the new device or the paper books. I would have to say I do favor the paperback but also look for advantages as to provide access to information as detrimental to providing society with the tools necessary. Receiving a gift certificate for 50 dollars to one of the books stores I might add this for a electronic purchase.
What brought this subject up was the update on the new electronic devices out there that allow you to read and download books for reading. Over the years being an advocate of sorts for the electronic development of our cultures I could see where such devices would allow extraordinary freedom to carry’s a lot of books in one location. So there has to be lots said about not being in in the mood for reading one book while being attentive to others for research material. Sort of like closing in on a cold case file or something like that may have been missed supportive by research material.
So under the auspice of attaining a library of sorts was appealing to me and I thought advantages to society that cold not travel distances to the libraries yet have access from the rural locations.
The Google Books Library Project is an effort by Google to scan and make searchable the collections of several major research libraries. The project, along with Google’s Partner Program, comprise Google Books (formerly Google Book Search). Along with bibliographic information, snippets of text from a book are often viewable. If a book is out of copyright and in the public domain, the book is fully available to read or to download.
Initial Project Partners
The number of academic libraries participating in the digitization and uploading of books from their collections has grown beyond the original five: Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, Oxford, and the New York Public Library.
Harvard University (and Harvard University Library) is an institutional participant in the project. The Harvard University Library (HUL) today is best understood as a coordinated system of more than 80 libraries with shared holdings. The University Library is also a department of the University’s central administration through which the libraries collaborate in the areas of digital acquisitions and collections, information technology, high-density storage, and preservation.
The Harvard University Library and Google are building on a successful pilot conducted by Harvard and Google throughout 2005. The project will increase Internet access to the holdings of the Harvard University Library, which includes more than 15.8 million volumes. While physical access to Harvard’s library materials generally is restricted to current Harvard students, faculty, and researchers, or to scholars who can come to Cambridge, the Harvard-Google Project has been designed to enable both members of the Harvard community and users everywhere to discover works in the Harvard collection.
- “The new century presents important new opportunities for libraries, including Harvard’s, and for those individuals who use them. The collaboration between major research libraries and Google will create an important public good of benefit to students, teachers, scholars, and readers everywhere. The project harnesses the power of the Internet to allow users to identify books of interest with a precision and at a speed previously unimaginable. The user will then be guided to find books in local libraries or to purchase them from publishers and book vendors. And, for books in the public domain, there will be even broader access.”
- “The Harvard-Google Project links the search power of the Internet to the depth of knowledge in Harvard’s world-renowned libraries. Harvard has been collecting books for nearly four centuries. Among our out-of-copyright books are countless unique copies, unusual editions, and neglected or forgotten works. Our efforts with Google will bring about the broad dissemination of the knowledge contained in those books and, with it, significant information about the world views that those books represent …. By working with Google, Harvard is furthering an essential aspect of the University Library’s mission, which is to serve scholars around the world.”
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library (NYPL) is an institutional participant in the project.
In this pilot program, NYPL is working with Google to offer a collection of its public domain books, which will be scanned in their entirety and made available for free to the public online. Users will be able to search and browse the full text of these works. When the scanning process is complete, the books may be accessed from both The New York Public Library’s website and from the Google search engine. 
- “The New York Public Library Research Libraries were struck by the convergence of Google’s mission with their own. We see the digitization project as a transformational moment in the access to information and wanted not only to learn from it but also to influence it. Our response at present is a conservative one, with a limited number of volumes in excellent condition, in selected languages and in the public domain. With appropriate evaluation of this limited participation, we look forward to a more expansive collaboration in the future.”
- “Stanford has been digitizing texts for years now to make them more accessible and searchable, but with books, as opposed to journals, such efforts have been severely limited in scope for both technical and financial reasons. The Google arrangement catapults our effective digital output from the boutique scale to the truly industrial. Through this program and others like it, Stanford intends to promote learning and stimulate innovation.”
University of Michigan
- “The project with Google is core to our mission as a great public university to advance knowledge — on campus and beyond. By joining this partnership that makes our library holdings searchable through Google, UM serves as an agent in an initiative that radically increases the availability of information to the public. The University of Michigan embraces this project as a means to make information available as broadly and conveniently as possible. Moreover, the UM Library embarked on this ground-breaking partnership for a number of very compelling reasons:
- “We believe that, beyond providing basic access to library collections, this activity is critically transformative, enabling the University Library to build on and re-conceive vital library services for the new millennium.
- “This work will create new ways for users to search and access library content, opening up our collections to our own users and to users throughout the world.
- “Although we have engaged in large-scale, preservation-based conversion of materials in the Library’s collection for several years, and have been a leader in digital preservation efforts among research libraries, we know that only through partnerships of this sort can conversion of this scale be achieved. Our program is strong, and we have been able to digitize approximately 5,000 volumes/year; nevertheless, at this rate, it would take us more than a thousand years to digitize our entire collection.”
University of Oxford
University of Oxford is an institutional participant in this project. Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and its historic Bodleian Library is the oldest university library.
- “The Bodleian Library’s mission, from its founding in 1602, has been based on Sir Thomas Bodley’s vision of a library serving the worldwide ‘Republic of Letters’, with the Library’s collections open to all who have need to use them. To this day over 60% of readers who use and work in the Bodleian Library have no direct affiliation with the University of Oxford . The Google Library Project in Oxford testifies to our ongoing commitment to enable and facilitate access to our content for the scholarly community and beyond. The initiative will carry forward Sir Thomas Bodley’s vision and the ethos of the Bodleian Library into the digital age, allowing readers from around the world to access the Library’s collections over the World Wide Web.”
Additional Project Partners
Other institutional partners have joined the Project in the years since the partnership was first announced.
Bavarian State Library
- “With today’s announcement we are opening our library to the world and bringing the true purpose of libraries — the discovery of books and knowledge — a decisive step further in into the digital era. This is an exciting effort to help readers around the world discover and access Germany’s rich literary tradition online — whenever and wherever they want.”
- “Our participation in the Google Book Search Library Project will add significantly to the extensive digital resources the Libraries already deliver,” said James Neal, Columbia’s vice president for information services and university librarian. “It will enable the Libraries to make available more significant portions of its extraordinary archival and special collections to scholars and researchers worldwide in ways that will ultimately change the nature of scholarship.”
Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC)
The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is an institutional participant in the project. The CIC developed in the late 1950s from a cautious exploration of the ways in which 11 major universities — two private and nine state-supported — might pool their resources for the common good. Today the CIC is an active participant in the Google Books Library Project, which becomes something of a logical extension of the initial working relationships forged a half century ago amongst Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago.
- The CIC is a consortium of 12 research universities:
- Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
- Michigan State University
- Northwestern University
- Ohio State University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Purdue University
- University of Chicago
- University of Illinois
- University of Iowa
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota
- University of Wisconsin–Madison
The CIC is guided by the Provosts of the member universities; and the CIC Digital Library Initiatives Overview Committee monitors the digitization and dissemination of books in the CIC collections.
- “This partnership with Google is one of the most ambitious undertakings in the history of the CIC, and sets the stage for a remarkable transformation of library services and information access. We’re opening up these resources as both a common good shared among the universities, as well as a public good available more broadly. ”
Complutense University of Madrid
- “Out-of-copyright books previously only available to people with access to the University Complutense of Madrid’s Library, or the money to travel, will now be accessible to everyone with an Internet connection, wherever they live. We are quite literally opening our library to the world. The opportunities for education are phenomenal and we are delighted to be working with Google on this project.”
- “Research libraries today are integral partners in the academic enterprise through their support of research, teaching and learning. They also serve a public good by enhancing access to the works of the world’s best minds. As a major research library, Cornell University Library is pleased to join its peer institutions in this partnership with Google. The outcome of this relationship is a significant reduction in the time and effort associated with providing scholarly full-text resources online.”
Ghent University Library
- ‘We are thrilled to open our books and our library to the world through this project. This is an exciting effort to help readers — no matter where they are — discover and access part of Belgium and Europe’s rich literary tradition and culture. In addition, we are about to start a multi-year project to renovate our library building, and while our library’s doors will be closed, its books will remain open to students and academics through Google Book Search.”
- “The Google project allows us to make our collections visible worldwide, so that our books will contribute to research and education on a global scale. Our university was founded in 1858 by Yukichi Fukuzawa, who was well known for his commitment to bringing information and media forward in modern Japan. This makes Keio ideally suited to be the first Japanese library to participate in Google Book Search.”
National Library of Catalonia
- “It once was the case that only those who could visit our library were able to ‘visit’ our books. Now, anyone interested in the vast number of titles our library houses will be able to find and access them online–or perhaps just discover them by chance via a simple search of the Google Book Search index. This is a tremendous step forward for enabling readers all around the world to discover and access the rich history of Catalonian, Castilian, and Latin American literature.”
- “Generations of Princeton librarians have devoted themselves to building a remarkable collection of books in thousands of subjects and dozens of languages. Having the portion of that collection not covered by copyright available online will make it easier for Princeton students and faculty to do research, and joining the Google partnership allows us to share our collection with researchers worldwide, a step very much in keeping with the University’s unofficial motto of Princeton in the nation’s service and in the service of all nations.”
University of California
- “By unlocking the wealth of information maintained within our libraries and exposing it to the latest that search technologies have to offer, the University of California is continuing its work to harness technology and our library collections in support of research, learning, patient care, and cultural engagement. In this new world, people will make connections between information and ideas that were hitherto inaccessible, driving the pace of innovation in all areas of life – academic, economic, and civic – and enhancing the use of the world’s great libraries.
- “With digital copies of our library holdings, we will also provide a safeguard for the countless thousands of authors, publishers, and readers who would be devastated by catastrophic loss occasioned, for example, by natural disaster. Anyone who doubts the impact that such disaster can have on our cultural memory need look no further than the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on our sister libraries in the Gulf States.
- “As an institution that has built these vast collections as a public good and in the public trust, joining the Google library partnership was the right thing to do.”
University Library of Lausanne
- “Out of copyright books previously only available to people with access to Lausanne’s university library, will now be accessible to everyone with an Internet connection, wherever they live. We are quite literally opening our library to the world. The opportunities for education are phenomenal and we are delighted to be working with Google on this project”.
University of Mysore
University of Texas at Austin
- “University libraries in our society are entrusted with the critical mission of collecting and providing access to information spanning the entire range of human knowledge. Our libraries are also responsible for effectively preserving this knowledge and ensuring access to it over vast periods of time. At the University of Texas at Austin, we hold a deep commitment to each of these objectives and believe that participating in this venture will help ensure our ability to meet those commitments far into the future.”
University of Virginia
- “The U.Va. Library was a pioneer in digitizing public domain materials. We started with printed texts in 1992, and faculty and students quickly discovered that long-forgotten and out-of-print texts could reach new audiences and spark new scholarship. We have often talked about libraries without walls, but now we are even closer to realizing that vision, thanks to this partnership.”
University of Wisconsin–Madison
- “The combined library collections of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library comprise one of the largest collections of documents and historical materials in the United States. Through this landmark partnership with Google, Wisconsin is taking a leading role in preserving public domain works for future generations and making the Library’s resources widely available for education and research. This effort truly exemplifies the vision of The Wisconsin Idea—the notion that the boundaries of the university are limitless. The Wisconsin libraries have been following in this tradition. The Google digitization efforts will enable the libraries to expand access to public domain materials that have heretofore only been accessible in the libraries. Much of this material is rare and one-of-a-kind, providing a rich, open source of information for educational, research and general public use.”
- ^ Stein, Linda L. et al. (2009). Literary Research and the American Realism and Naturalism Period: Strategies and Sources, p. 261.
- ^ Google Books Library Project – An enhanced card catalog of the world’s books
- ^ O’Sullivan, Joseph and Adam Smith. “All booked up,” Googleblog. December 14, 2004.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Google Library Partners
- ^ a b Harvard + Google
- ^ HUL summary/overview
- ^ a b New York Public Library + Google
- ^ Stanford + Google
- ^ Michigan + Google
- ^ Oxford + Google
- ^ Bavaria + Google (in English); Staatsbibliothek + Google (in German)
- ^ CIC + Google
- ^ CIC overview
- ^ Madrid + Google (in English); Complutense Universidad + Google (in Spanish)
- ^ Cornell + Google
- ^ Ghent/Gent + Google
- ^ Keio + Google (in English); Keio + Google (in Japanese)
- ^ Biblioteca de Catalunya (BNC) + Google (in Spanish)
- ^ Princeton + Google
- ^ California + Google
- ^ Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire/BCU + Google (in French)
- ^ Mysore + Google
- ^ Texas + Google
- ^ Virginia + Google
- ^ Wisconsin + Google
- Lester, June and Wallace C. Koehler. (2007). Fundamentals of Information Studies: Understanding Information and Its Environment. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers. 13-ISBN 978-1-555-70594-7/10-ISBN 1-555-70594-4; OCLC 122526045
- Miller, Michael. (2007). Googlepedia: the Ultimate Google Resource. Indianapolis, Indiana: Que. 13-ISBN 978-0-789-73639-0/10-ISBN 0-789-73639-X; OCLC 224762694
- Stein, Linda L, and Peter J. Lehu. (2009). Literary Research and the American Realism and Naturalism Period: Strategies and Sources. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. 13-ISBN 978-0-810-86141-1/10-ISBN 0-810-86141-0; 13-ISBN 978-0-810-86242-5/10-ISBN 0-810-86242-5; OCLC 233798804