Google Library Project Gets University Consortium

    June 6, 2007

Aw, isn’t that nice: the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is set to cooperate with Google and join the search engine giant’s Library Project.  The CIC is composed of 12 major American research universities.

“Google will work with the CIC to digitize select collections across all its libraries, up to 10 million volumes,” reports an official press release.

“Users will be able to explore collections that are global in scope, like Northwestern’s Africana collection or dive deep into the universities’ unique Midwest heritage, including the University of Minnesota’s Scandinavian and forestry collections, Michigan State’s extensive holding in agriculture, Indiana University’s folklore collection, and the history and culture of Chicago collection at the University of Illinois-Chicago.”

It’s getting hard to think of (or imagine) any books that Google hasn’t scanned, and CIC chairman Lawrence Dumas seemed to agree when he gave a statement about the announcement.  “This library digitization agreement is one of the largest cooperative actions of its kind in higher education,” Dumas said.

Yet there are still concerns about copyright issues, and neither the CIC nor Google wants anyone to think that laws are being broken.  The search engine company went out of its way to note, “For books protected by copyright, users will 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.”

With every new partner, Google’s Library Project gains a little more credibility; given its current number of pals, I think that even skeptics must admit the Project has earned a measure of trust.  Still, it’s always nice to hear that Google’s thinking about authors’ rights, and it’s always impressive to see the rate at which Google’s endeavor is growing.