University of California Considers Google Books Library Project

University of California Considers Google Books Library Project

The University of California regents are weighing the benefits of joining five other research libraries in Google’s efforts to digitize books and provide access to their contents through its search engine. The collaboration is under consideration by UC President Robert C. Dynes, who has endorsed the concept, according to the August 4 San Jose Mercury News, but has not set a decision date.

The search-engine company launched the Google Books Library Project in December 2004 in partnership with Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford Universities; the University of Michigan; and New York Public Library. Search results allow users to look at the full text of a book if it is in the public domain, but only allow relevant snippets of text if the title is protected by copyright.

“We could build a library for the future,” Daniel Greenstein, university librarian for systemwide library planning for the UC system’s 10 campuses and the California Digital Library, told the Mercury News. “What it would do for scholars and readers is incredibly valuable.” Greenstein helped present the proposal to university regents in July.

One concern the regents have with the proposal is the 2005 lawsuit by the Association of American Publishers that seeks to block the Google project on the basis of copyright infringement. But Greenstein stressed that university attorneys have approved the idea. “This is not about breaking the law or stealing material,” he said in the August 2 Los Angeles Times.

Google spokesperson Megan Lamb could not comment on the UC negotiations specifically, but told the Times, “We are very interested in exploring additional partnerships to make the world of books searchable online.”

Posted August 4, 2006.