[CSG Fall 2005] UMichigan’s Google Library digitization project

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John Wilkin from U Michigan is talking about the University’s deal with Google for digitizing library content.

Larry Page from Google is a Michigan grad, and at a dinner on campus he said he’d like to digitize the entire library collection, and they took him seriously. They agreed on non-destructive conversion that would produce files of sufficient resolution to serve as a stand-in for the physical object, and the University would maintain rights to the materials.

The bound print content of the Library will be digitized – the Library holds seven million volumes.

The contract between the University and Google is online at http://www.lib.umich.edu/mdp/. There is a lightweight set of indemnifications in the agreement. There is agreement that the materials will not be out of circulation for long.

Copies of the images go to both Google and the University.

Why did they do this? Ubiquitous access is part of what it means to be a research library. Having access through Google widens access.

Why would Google do this? To “help maintain the preeminence of books and libraries in our increasingly Internet-centric culture…”

They University gets a package of files for every volume that’s identified by barcode – 600dpi bitonal images for print and 300dpi JPEG color/grayscale for illustrations. Michigan reports that the OCR quality is good.

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