Monday, June 18, 2007

The Google Digitization Project continues to grow

In some ways, the larger this project gets, the less news-worthy it becomes. Yes, more institutions have joined the project. Yes, this is wonderful. No, there are no new details about how they are doing it and nothing trickling out of this project that will help smaller projects with technology, metadata, processing, etc. (When that occurs, that will be news.)

Here,though, are a few interesting quotes from the Penn State press release abut the agreement between Google and the 12-institution consortium called the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC):
"We haven't identified the specific works to be included yet," said Nancy Eaton, dean of the Penn State University Libraries. "However, the aggregation of large collections is more important than any specific title, as it is the 'critical mass' of large collections that will make Google the place for users to go to search first."
As a part of the agreement, the consortium also will create a first-of-its-kind shared digital repository to collectively archive and manage the full content of public domain works digitized by Google that are held across the CIC libraries.
I would think that as Google enters into more agreements that selecting books to digitize could become more of a headache. They must consider what they have already digitized, what is already in the pipeline, what they have promised to digitized for their existing partners, etc. New partners must bring to the table, I suspect, something unique that can easily be identified upfront.

BTW there must be a massive database within Google that tracks all of this stuff. Wouldn't that be interesting to look at?

The second quote notes that the CIC will create a shared digital repository of public domain worked digitized by Google and that these 12 libraries already hold. Notice that the wording does not say that these books will necessarily be digitized from these 12 institution, but that they "hold" them. So it could be -- if I read this correctly -- that they will build this repository using books already digitized by Google elsewhere that are in the public domain and that already exist in their collections. That could be quite nice and very valuable to students and faculty.

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