Monday, August 13, 2007

Article: Cornell University Library becomes newest partner in Google Book Search Library Project

In this region, Cornell remains at the forefront in regards to digitization. Last week, Cornell issued a press release with major digitization news. It is joining the Google Book Search project. The press release said:

“In its quest to be the world’s land-grant university, Cornell strives to serve the scholarly and research needs of those beyond the campus. This project advances Cornell’s ability to provide global access to our library resources and to build human capacity across the globe,” said Cornell President David J. Skorton.

Google will digitize up to 500,000 works from Cornell University Library and make them available online using Google Book Search. As a result, materials from the library’s exceptional collections will be easily accessible to students, scholars and people worldwide, supporting the library’s long-standing commitment to make its collections broadly available.

Google will digitize both public domain and copyrighted materials at Cornell. Those materials will be selected in order to complement the other work that Google is doing.

500,000 works is a small part of Cornell's collections which is "close to 8 million volumes in print and more than 60,000 journals, 300,000 e-books and 39,000 e-journals." Even so, Janet A. McCue, director of Mann Library, said “Having Google index our collections is like having a massive concordance to the information in our books.”

How many libraries is Google now working with? 27.

In 2006, Cornell announced that it would participate in Microsoft's Windows Live Book Search. Does this now mean that Cornell is working with Google and Microsoft at the same time? Undoubtedly Cornell is working on other digitization programs too. It would be interesting to hear how all of this work is (or is not) impacting them. Perhaps due to its size, the impact is minimal.

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Anonymous said...

Microsoft's efforts in book scanning/digitization are perhaps 1-2% of what Google is providing Universities. Because Google aren't using expensive proprietary scanners, they can scale up in a manner that is only limited by money.

One can only speculate that the quantity that MS could scan for Cornell was insufficient to meet their required timelines. MS has a single scanning location (NY), whereas Google has set up multiple (dozens?) of scanning locations around the world.

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

It's Jan. 31, 2008 and am finally rejecting a comment that was left on this blog post because I have no idea of knowing if it is accurate (left on 8/27/07). The commenter believes that Google is paying libraries money in order to digitize their books. Nothing I've seen points to that being true. Someone who has written on the Google project indicated that she hadn't heard of a payment, but she also said that she had never thought to ask.

Now here's the question -- if the libraries are receiving a payment, would that be a bad thing? What would the negative side of that be?