UC Berkeley News


UC libraries announce partnership with Google to digitize books
'Enormous benefits' of deal are emphasized by university leadership

| 24 August 2006

The University of California libraries have announced their partnership with Google to digitize books from the libraries' collections. UC is the latest partner in the Google Books Library Project, which was launched in December 2004 to digitize books drawn from the libraries of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University, and the New York Public Library.

The digitized books will be searchable through Google Book Search (books.google.com). Google respects copyright law and has specifically designed Book Search to comply with it. Anyone will be able to freely view, browse, and read UC's public-domain books, including many of the treasures in the libraries' historic and special collections.

For books protected by copyright, users just get basic background (such as the book's title and the author's name), at most a few lines of text related to their search, and information about where they can borrow or buy the book.
If publishers or authors don't want to have their books digitized, they will be excluded.

"The digitization project furthers UC's mission," said UC President Robert Dynes. "It greatly expands our ability to give scholars and the public access to the kinds of information and ideas that drive scholarly innovation and public knowledge and discourse."

"The academic enterprise is fundamentally about discovery," said John Oakley, chair of UC's systemwide Academic Senate and a UC Davis law professor. "We contribute to it immeasurably by unlocking the wealth of information maintained within our libraries and exposing it to the latest that search technologies have to offer.

"In this new world, our faculty, staff, and students will make connections between information and ideas that were hitherto inaccessible, driving the pace of scholarly innovation, and enhancing the use that is made of our great libraries."

Brian Schottlaender, university librarian at UC San Diego, said the project will contribute significantly to the management of library collections that are built and maintained in the public trust.

"Tens of thousands of volumes entrusted to our care are printed on acid-rich paper and are crumbling into dust. In fact, all our holdings are chronically at risk, residing as they do in seismically unstable California.

"Anyone who doubts the potential impact that natural disaster can have need look no further than the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on our sister libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi. Digital copies tucked away safely in a preservation archive would have saved those libraries - and indeed, the world - from irrecoverable loss."

"Our library partners share our mission to help users all over the world discover the great works of history and culture - simply by searching online," said Susan Wojcicki, Google's vice president for product management. "We're thrilled to begin working with the University of California libraries to include their incredible collection in Google Book Search."

Wyatt Hume, UC executive vice president and provost, said, "The Google partnership promises enormous benefits to UC and the communities it serves. Amongst them, of course, is the free and unfettered full-text access we can provide to our public-domain holdings. For a great civic institution of higher learning such as ours, the decision to join the Google library partnership was the right thing to do."

More than 100 libraries on the 10 UC campuses support the university's mission of teaching, research, and public service. Collectively, they comprise the largest research/academic library in the world and, with the California Digital Library, have taken a leadership role in the harnessing of technology in support of new and innovative forms of scholarly communication.