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Govtcheez
12-14-2004, 07:08 AM
http://www.freep.com/money/tech/mwend14e_20041214.htm

MIKE WENDLAND: U-M's entire library to be put on Google

Billion-dollar project will move text of 7 million volumes online

December 14, 2004

BY MIKE WENDLAND
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

Google, the ubiquitous Internet search engine, is taking the University of Michigan's library from Ann Arbor to the world.

U-M and the California-based information company will announce an agreement today under which the complete text of all 7 million volumes in U-M's library will be digitized -- that is, turned into a computer-readable format -- and made instantly searchable by anyone using Google.

The massive project means that within a few years, people doing research about practically anything -- whether for a scholarly paper, a high school project or a family tree -- will be able to consult U-M's collections online almost as easily as they could if they were sitting in the landmark library building on the university's central campus.

It is the largest such digital scanning project ever undertaken, and one that promises to take online searching far beyond the traditional Web pages, news and shopping sites that make up most searches today.

"This project signals an era when the printed record of civilization is accessible to every person in the world with Internet access," said U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. "It is an initiative with tremendous impact today and endless future possibilities."

Besides digitizing U-M's massive collection, Google plans to scan parts of other research libraries, including those at Harvard, Stanford, Oxford University in England and the New York Public Library. Those projects are much smaller in scope than Google's plans for U-M. At Harvard, for example, only 40,000 of the university's 15 million volumes will be digitized.

U-M's library, often ranked among the nation's top 10 research collections, has been a leader in the drive to convert printed information into digital form, which scholars say will preserve fragile items and make it easier for researchers to find the information they want.

During the past several years, the university has scanned about 22,000 volumes, one of the most ambitious digital efforts among U.S. universities. When Google offered technology that could handle the entire collection, U-M jumped at the opportunity.

Google has a strong connection to Ann Arbor: Larry Page, one of the company's two founders, is a graduate of U-M's engineering school. He was the first recipient of the University of Michigan Alumni Society's recent engineering graduate award.

The size of the U-M undertaking is staggering. It involves the use of new technology developed by Google that greatly speeds the digitizing process. Without that technology -- which Google won't discuss in detail -- the task would be impossible, says John Wilkin, the U-M associate librarian who is heading the project.

"Going as fast as we can with the traditional means of doing this, it would take us about 1,600 years to do all 7 million volumes," he said. "Google will do it in six years."

Under the agreement, the library will get a digital copy of every book scanned. With those copies, the library can prepare special research projects, virtual exhibitions and more relevant scholarly and academic material for its students and faculty.

"If we were to do this job ourselves, it would probably cost us $600 million," Wilkin said. "That's just the human cost of preparing the material for scanning, packing it up and sending it out to vendors and then quality-control checking of the results. This is easily a billion-dollar effort."

Although a few sample volumes were to be made available online today to highlight the project, significant amounts of material from the library won't be online until mid-2005. All 7 million volumes should be digitized into the Google database sometime shortly after 2010.

For Google, digitizing the collection is part of an effort called Google Print (http://print.google.com), in which the popular search site is working to create digital databases of books, reports, manuscripts and other printed materials. The goal is for Web users accessing the search site to be able to type in a phrase or key words and be presented with direct access to in-depth research and literary material.

The prospect of expanding that effort to include U-M's 7 million items has researchers buzzing.

"It's a noble effort, and a huge undertaking," said Gary Price, editor of ResourceShelf (www.resourceshelf.com), a site geared toward information professionals. "But it's so huge a project that the concern I have is that people may be lost in a sea of possible links."

Price said he believes the project will lead to similar efforts by Microsoft and Yahoo.

"Both of them have the money and the expertise to do this," Price said, "and there are a lot more libraries around the country. They won't want Google to have this kind of an advantage over them."

Google refuses to say how many people will be at U-M doing the digitizing work. "All we can say is this is a very large project, and we will be working on it aggressively," said Susan Wojcicki, Google's director of program management.

What users will see when they search the U-M collection online depends upon whether the information is still covered by copyright. For older items, users will be able to search for and read every word on each page of a book or document. But for material under copyright, the university will put a short synopsis of the material online, with information that links to the publisher or libraries where the work can be obtained.I would love for this to turn into a trend. A truly excellent idea, but the copyright problem bugs me a little bit.

SMurf
12-14-2004, 08:34 AM
I would love for this to turn into a trend. A truly excellent idea, but the copyright problem bugs me a little bit.
What are you gonna do, publishers love money. :rolleyes:
Obviously making it a subscription or PPV service would fix that in a snap, but that defeats the point.

kermi3
12-14-2004, 08:39 AM
http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgDate=14-Dec-2004&prgId=3

You will only be able to see snippits (I'd guess sortable appropriate ones) of copyrighted material. I'd guess that you'd probably be able to pay a library fee to view the entire book.

Govtcheez
12-14-2004, 08:41 AM
> I'd guess that you'd probably be able to pay a library fee to view the entire book

That's silly, though - you don't have to pay a fee to use the actual library.

Still, this is pretty incredible. U-M's libraries are huge (also beautiful buildings, but that's beside the point), and there will still be plenty of information available as a result.

kermi3
12-14-2004, 08:50 AM
>>That's silly, though - you don't have to pay a fee to use the actual library.

Sure you do. Most people pay tuition or pay taxes to the state :D. Besdies there must be copyright laws that cover libraries, but putting the library on google would be pushing that just a wee bit.

This will make a great addition to Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/).


Also just found this:
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/12/14/013251&from=rss

Govtcheez
12-14-2004, 09:05 AM
> Most people pay tuition or pay taxes to the state

You are such a jerk, pointing out when I'm wrong like that :mad:

> Besdies there must be copyright laws that cover libraries, but putting the library on google would be pushing that just a wee bit.

Yeah, the ease of copying kinda puts it in a new category, but it's still frustrating. The nice thing is that a lot of older works won't be covered by copyright, plus I don't believe the law papers there are, either. UM's law school is fantastic.

B0bDole
12-14-2004, 09:55 AM
>Besdies there must be copyright laws that cover libraries, but putting the library on google would be pushing that just a wee bit.

Not really, think about it...anyone can go to the library and pick up the book and look at it. This just makes it easier to look at, IE a good thing.

Govtcheez
12-14-2004, 10:01 AM
Right, but some libraries frown on you making copies.

kermi3
12-14-2004, 10:02 AM
Yes but if I look at it in a library I can't make my own copy. If I look at it on IE or otherwise on my computer, I can copy it - via print screen if nothing else. I think that's a pretty big step.

ober
12-14-2004, 10:14 AM
Actually, to say that paying tuition grants you access to the library is kinda bogus. Think about the several other thousands of libraries in local towns that give you access to the books for weeks at a time for absolutely nothing. I don't personally know if any normal schmuck can walk onto U of M and into the library and check out a book, but I wouldn't doubt it.

Govtcheez
12-14-2004, 10:21 AM
> I think that's a pretty big step.

That was my point.

> Actually, to say that paying tuition grants you access to the library is kinda bogus.

Yeah, but public universities are largely supported by taxes. In the case of schools like UM, though, a lot of their big money come from donations.

kermi3
12-14-2004, 10:46 AM
>> I don't personally know if any normal schmuck can walk onto U of M and into the library and check out a book, but I wouldn't doubt it.

I know at the major universities in Louisiana you have to apply for a card - and generally pay a fee in order to be able to check books out. Anyone can look at them in the library though.

B0bDole
12-14-2004, 10:54 AM
>Yes but if I look at it in a library I can't make my own copy.

I'm not sure what libraries you guys go to, but UCF's library has over 400 copy machines spread over 5 floors... I wouldn't say being able to hit prnt scrn is any sort of step at all.

-KEN-
12-14-2004, 01:20 PM
I use FAU's library (and make copies there) for research projects. Don't have a card, and I certianly don't go there. It's a public school, too.

B0bDole
12-14-2004, 01:24 PM
My point exactly. Just because it'll make it easier for lazy people, doesn't really mean it'll be easier at all, and I'm not even sure if it's against the license the libraries hold for people to come in and make copies of a couple pages for personal use, as long as a)they dont copy the whole book, b)they dont steal material.

This is really not an issue.