Google Got Us

I still have a few misgivings about Google. Yet I am assured by people I trust very much that this is all a good thing and if I can get them to scan all our theses as part of the deal then, bonus!

The national 12-university consortium called the Committee on
Institutional Cooperation (CIC) announced a collective agreement
today (June 6) to digitize select collections across all its
libraries, up to 10 million volumes, as part of the Google Book
Search project. “This partnership will allow for library digitization
at a scale and scope that would not be possible with the limited
means available to the individual universities,” said Rodney
Erickson, Penn State’s executive vice president and provost. “This
partnership will allow the universities to digitize collections in a
few years that would have taken hundreds of years and many millions
of dollars. Beyond the scope and speed of digitization made possible
by this agreement, the libraries’ intention to build a shared digital
repository to house public domain materials is a ground-breaking
collaboration. The repository will allow faculty, students and the
broader public to immediately access the full content of all 12
universities’ rich array of public domain holdings.”
Read the full story at

For now, each university is providing certain material from their specialties:

Google will have the opportunity to scan some of the most distinctive collections from the CIC’s holdings, now numbering more than 75 million volumes. The collections are comprehensive and global in scope, such as Northwestern’s Africana collection and the University of Chicago’s renowned South Asia holdings.

“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.”

Penn State expects to contribute its distinctive collections on food sciences, mycology and mushroom production, chocolate/cocoa; German Americana; materials science and ceramics; meteorology; and mining.

Coincidentally (or not) The Chronicle has a web brief about how publishers are now “warming” to Google’s Book Search.

When Google first announced its intention to scan books from around the world and post them online, the project was “portrayed in the press as a kind of rapacious monster,” says Jim Zarroli of NPR’s All Things Considered. But now that Google has digitized more than 1 million volumes, some pundits and publishers are changing their tunes.

Publishing houses initially viewed Google’s Book Search, as the project is called, as a serious threat to their economic well-being. Many publishers, it should be said, stick by that assessment. But others have come to appreciate Google’s method for dealing with books under copyright: The search engine typically displays small sections of those books alongside links to sites where the complete texts can be purchased.

This has been so effective, says a representative of Oxford University Press, that “321,000 times in the last two years, people have clicked on an Oxford book saying ‘I want to buy this.’ We spent nothing to do that. That’s why we’re a big fan of this program.” —Brock Read
Posted on Tuesday June 5, 2007

We are now in good company. From the Agreement FAQ is this:

What other institutions are participating in the Google Library project?
Other participating universities include the University of California library system, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library, Oxford University, Princeton University, the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Virginia, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Library of Barcelona, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the University of Lausanne, Ghent University Library and two members of the CIC: the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Google is conducting a pilot project with the Library of Congress as well.

From LivePSU:

For more information, visit or online.

Robin Kaler for the CIC at:
Jennifer Parson, Google at:

Also see:
— Penn State’s contributions to the project:
— Agreement FAQ:
— CIC library collections:
— In Motion video:

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