January 1-15, 2005 Edition

Google, Major Libraries

to Undertake Massive

Online Digitizing Project

NEW YORK, NY/12/21/04—Google has made a deal with five major public libraries to create an online digital library that could hold searchable information on as many as 30 million volumes. The project, which may take many years to complete, will involve full-text searching and full-image viewing for in and out-of-print books both in the public domain and in copyright.

The five library participants include New York Public Library, Harvard, Stanford and the University of Michigan.

Some library leaders are concerned that publishers might see the move as a threat to copyrights. However, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) says it has no plan to legally block the effort, according to an article by Barbara Quint in Information Today, a publication aimed at libraries.

The library program is an expansion of the Google print program that enables visitors to find matches inside the full text of books.

Google co-founder Larry Page told Information Today that “Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize searchable online. Today we’re pleased to announce this program to digitize the collections of these amazing libraries so that every Google user can search them instantly.”

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful and make it searchable.” The company says it is concentrating on out-of-print material, whether public domain or in copyright, and is meeting library copyright standards. Participating libraries won’t earn money from Google, but they will receive digital copies of the books it provides for the program, to offer through its own library user systems.

According to the Google website, the library partnerships will vastly increase the amount of material Google is able to digitize and bring online. The company says “Authors and publishers will benefit from the increased visibility of current books, and over time, Google users will even be able to find out of print and rare books that were previously unavailable except from a library. Books still in copyright will be searchable, but users will only be able to view bibliographic information and a few small text snippets–similar to the experience of flipping through a book in a bookstore.”

For a preview of how the system works, see: