Avid users of Google may have noticed the “Book Search” links that appear in the search results. Those links stem from the Google Book Project, the top search engine’s project to digitize the world’s printed material for all to access electronically. Logically, the company approached libraries to offer their collections for digitization. Leading universities in the US and abroad has signed up to participate in the project, such as Harvard, Princeton and Oxford University in the UK, as well as closer to home at UW-Madison.
Some may ask how could the mass digitization of books could benefit libraries? An article from the Detroit News details the University of Michigan Libraries, another participant, and their current progress. According to associate university librarian John Price Wilkin, the library can put more time and resources into preserving materials in delicate condition. If left by themselves, scanning the entire collection would take 1,400 years at 5,000 items a year. Google would make relatively quick work of the library, only taking about five to seven years for the entire collection.
For more information about the Google Book Project, check out the following links:
- Google Books Search – News & Views – current information about the Books Project and the Library Project
- UW-Madison Digitization Project – learn about Madison’s involvement in the project
Thanks to Renee Pfeifer-Luckett, instructor in Marketing, for the Detroit News link submission!
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