Illinois, CIC Join Google Book Search Project
The University Library and other libraries in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) are partnering with Google to scan and make publicly available up to 10 million volumes. The partnership, part of the Google Book Search project, will digitize some of the most distinctive collections from the CIC’s holdings, now totaling over 75 million volumes. The CIC is an academic consortium of 12 leading research universities in the Midwest, including the University of Illinois.
Through the agreement, Google will digitally scan and make searchable both public-domain and in-copyright materials in a manner consistent with copyright law. Many items to be scanned will be global in scope; others will underscore the Midwest foundation of CIC universities. For books protected by copyright, basic information will be provided to the public, such as the title and author’s name, a few lines of descriptive text, and instructions regarding purchase or borrowing. Public-domain materials will be available to view, search, or download for printing in their entirety.
As a part of the agreement, Google will provide the CIC with a digital copy of public-domain materials scanned for the project. The consortium then will create a first-of-its-kind shared digital repository to store and manage the content. The repository will provide faculty and students convenient access to a large and diverse online library, which before was housed in separate locations and connected only by online catalogs, interlibrary loan policies, and reciprocal borrowing agreements.
“In the print world, students and scholars are constrained by searching brief descriptions in card catalogs, tables of contents, and indexes. Now we can search every word in every volume and make connections across works that would have taken weeks—even years—to make in the past,” says Paula Kaufman, university librarian and dean of libraries at Illinois. “A shared digital repository will move our distinctive public-domain content from the bricks and mortar of individual libraries into one stellar digital resource available at a scholar’s desktop.”
Established almost 50 years ago, the CIC serves as a means to aggregate resources and enhance opportunities for teaching and learning. Among other activities, member universities share study-abroad opportunities, develop joint language offerings, and coordinate large-scale collaborative projects and purchases. The Google agreement has been described one of the largest cooperative initiatives in higher education to share resources and preserve and index the world’s printed treasures.