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Google Adds Library, Expands Edu Offerings

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Google took another step toward the company’s stated goal of indexing the world’s information by adding the entire collection of public domain historical resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library to its Google Books Library Project.

The company says that the UW-Madison/WHS historical document and book collection, at 7.2 million holdings, is one of the largest collections in the United States, ranked 11th in North America.

The university adds its resources to an impressive list of other project partners that includes the University of California, University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library, Oxford University and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

“Wisconsin is in a position to take a leading role in making the primary documents of U. S. government history freely accessible on the Internet for anyone to find and use,” says UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell.

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 buy or borrow a book. If publishers or authors don’t want to have their books digitized, they will be excluded.

Google, run by a team steeped in academia, has been very proactive in promoting educational causes as part of its overall strategy. The company also recently launched Google Apps for Education, introducing applications for communication, collaboration and search for educational institutions.

The applications will be previewed the Educause tradeshow in Dallas, Texas. The company also plans to release a set of beta APIs for organizations that want integrate directories, single-sign-on systems, and mail gateways with Google Apps for Education. Arizona State University has already integrated the APIs into their system.

In this flurry of educational announcements, Google Enterprise also revealed that Blackboard will be the first Google Enterprise Professional partner to focus primarily on the education market. Blackboard will focus on helping schools integrate Google enterprise search technology for schools, as well as integrating the Blackboard Learning System with Google Scholar.

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