Google-University of Michigan digitalization deal expands

Google-University of Michigan digitalization deal expands

Google-University of Michigan digitalization deal expands

by Dave Gershman | The Ann Arbor News
Tuesday May 26, 2009, 1:54 PM

The University of Michigan is the first university to expand its book scanning agreement with Google Inc., paving the way for greater public access to electronic copies of works in the university's libraries.


It was made possible because of Google's pending legal settlement with a broad class of authors and publishers.


Google has already digitized 3 million of the works at the U-M libraries, with roughly 5 million to go.


"This agreement and this settlement will mean that anybody in the country can look at (the U-M collections) from far away," said Paul Courant, U-M librarian and dean of libraries.


As outlined in the original agreement, any computer user will be able go to to read entire texts of books not covered by copyright. But now access to books under copyright will be expanded.


Instead of being able to read only a few lines of text in books under copyright, as originally provided, computer users will be able to read 20 percent of the books in what Google calls a free preview. Computer users will be able to search the text by keyword to identify relevant passages. Computer users can then choose to buy an electronic copy of the book from Google.


Google will also sell libraries and other educational institutions subscriptions to the digitized works. Subscribing libraries will receive a type of kiosk or computer terminal that will allow any member of the public that uses it to read any of the digitized works in the U-M libraries from cover to cover.


A portion of the revenues Google receives will be given to the authors and publishers.


"Our agreement with authors and publishers will allow anyone in the U.S. to benefit from the wealth of knowledge contained in our nation's most renowned libraries," said Dan Clancy, engineering director at Google, in a statement provided by the U-M.


U-M will not receive any money, but its students will be able to read any of the university's digitized works from their own computers by using a password protected system.


Courant said he expects it will take Google one to two years to make its new products available.


In 2004, Google announced that it would digitize works at libraries, including U-M's, so the materials could be searched and found on the Internet. Courant expects other libraries to join the expanded effort. The lawsuit against Google for copyright infringement was filed the next year.


Also as part of the pending settlement, Google has agreed to contribute at least $5 million to create two new national research centers to allow scholars to conduct computer-aided research using the large number of digitized works.


Reporter Dave Gershman can be reached at 734-994-6818 or

Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 (Archive on Wednesday, June 03, 2009)
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