What Google Libraries will do with their Digital Copies

http://www.infotoday.com/searcher/apr07/Grogg_Ashmore.shtml

Librarians participating in Google Book Search scanning can easily add links on their libraries’ Web pages to the Google Book Search Web site [http://books.google.com] and call it a day. However, with the number of aforementioned in-house digitization projects, most librarians find great potential for using the copies they receive from Google in conjunction with existing library resources and newly created partnerships. And the future may see even nonmembers of the Google Library Party doing the same thing. As Megan Lamb, of Google Corporate Communications, explains “We’ve [Google] already done significant engineering work in ensuring that our URLs are persistent and any organization can link to them.”

For example, Popham of Oxford explains the necessity for new partnerships to cope with the enormity of the Google project: “The sheer scale of our endeavor with Google vastly overshadows any previous [digitization] activity and will require additional preservation infrastructure, which we are developing in partnership with Sun Microsystems, as part of the establishment of a Sun Center of Excellence here in Oxford.” While all of the participating Google Book Search libraries have digitization projects in existence, few, if any, approach the scale of the Google project. Jennifer Colvin, strategic communications manager, UC Office of the President, stated, “The university libraries have been doing other digitization projects for years, but nothing nearly on the scale of what we are doing with the OCA [Open Content Alliance] and with Google, so that’s one of the reasons we are so excited about our partnerships with those organizations.”

Such an increase in scale means that some library administrators are still weighing options about how to use their library digital copies. In August 2006, Barbara Quint reported in an Information Today, Inc. NewsBreak (“Google Book Search Adds Big, Brave Partner: The University of California”) that “plans as to what UC intends to do with its digital copies are still in the works. However, public domain material will have free and unfettered full-text access throughout the system, including links to the online Melvyl Catalog. Books still in copyright will only be accessible in keeping with copyright law”
[http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbReader.asp?ArticleId=17375]. According to Colvin, UC has organized a “system-wide group with representatives from across the UC system to try to figure out what the next step is going to be and how we can possibly integrate those digital books in with our collection.” According to Flecker, Harvard is not using the data at this point: “Future uses are under discussion, but no concrete plans are in place.” While no concrete plans may be in place, Harvard is enthusiastic about the possibilities the mass digitization offers. Flecker noted, “We are excited about the possibility of making the collection of scanned books available in the future for text mining, which we believe will open up powerful new ways of doing research.”

NYPL’s Ferriero envisions a future in which patrons conduct searches in its Digital Gallery and receive not only images from across the research libraries, but also the text that provides necessary context and avenues for further research. While NYPL is still making plans for how it will use its digital copies (in December, it just finished the Google pilot of 10,000 volumes and made arrangements to continue the relationship), it is carefully watching how other Google partners are putting their digital copies to work for them. In fact, the Google Library partners meet twice a year to take advantage of the lessons learned from each of their very individual ventures.

Like Harvard and the NYPL, Oxford continues to explore how best to use its digital copies. When asked to describe how his library currently uses and/or plans to use digital copies received from Google, Popham replied, “At the moment, we are simply planning to archive and preserve our copy of the data generated by our joint project with Google.” Popham went on to say that Oxford will link from its catalog record to the images hosted at Google [http://books.google.com]. Finally, Popham explained, “The scale and scope of this project is such that we are only just beginning to consider some of the possibilities that this work may enable.”

As one of the most recent of Google library partners, signing on in November 2006, UVA is understandably still considering how to use its digital copies. When asked if UVA was concentrating on specific subject areas, Wittenborg said, “We gave Google a lot of data on what we think our special strengths are, but they said essentially all 5.1 million volumes are under consideration still by them.” Wittenborg went on to say, “They [Google and library partners] have a summit meeting of the [library] partners in January [2007] at Google, and so I think by then, if not before, we’ll know. We are very, very strong in American literature and American history, but also in Buddhism and other things, so it’s pretty much they get to choose.” When asked if UVA was choosing to do both public domain and in-copyright materials, Wittenborg replied, “Absolutely. It was important for us to want to do the whole thing.” Wittenborg emphasized the opportunity this presents for UVA: “… it’s an open playing field. We know we’ll be experimenting with software tools and delivery services, and our primary goal is to support research, teaching, and learning here at UVA. But I think that once we suddenly get content, we will find out there are all kinds of things we can do. I think there will be parts of the content that we will mark up for added value, but we just don’t know yet.”

UW-Madison, another new member of this exclusive club, has particular plans for organizing and providing access to the library’s digital copies of Google-scanned material. Van Gemert stated: “Our intention is to have material searchable through our OPAC and our intention is to collaborate with other CIC [Committee on Institutional Cooperation] institutions on a shared digital repository.” The CIC is a consortium of 12 major research universities, including those from the Big Ten athletic conference, along with the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. As mentioned earlier, UW-Madison also intends to leverage its investment in current digitization projects and, through its partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society and Google, to create a larger, more comprehensive digital collection. Van Gemert explained, “Our primary focus is to have digitized materials in the public domain — state and federal government documents, other historical documents.” While UW-Madison has a clear focus, it has yet to begin scanning; the operational side of its project with Google will begin in March 2007.

In addition to UW-Madison, the CIC group also includes UM, which, to date, has one of the most developed systems for providing access to its Google scanned materials — MBooks. MBooks allows patrons to discover books through full-text searching in its online catalog, Mirlyn. Once a title is identified, a patron can click on a link, which takes them to a “page turner” interface that allows them to navigate the book, print individual pages, and enlarge and rotate the page image as well as to search within that individual title. The library digital copies delivered to UM are individual pages — mostly 600 dpi TIFF images using ITU G4 compression, although pages with significant illustrations usually appear as 300 dpi JPEG 2000 images. Google also provides an OCR text file to match each page image. The type of image files provided to a library depend on the library’s preferences [http://www.lib.umich.edu/staff/google/public/faq.pdf]. While one cannot print out entire PDF files of a single title from the MBooks interface, the MBooks record does provide links back to the Google Book Search copy.

Because UM is one of the libraries allowing Google to scan in-copyright titles, MBooks provides searching within these titles, as well as information on the number of occurrences and location of terms within an individual title, to assist the user in evaluating the relevance of the item to their research. MBooks currently only houses the titles scanned through Google, but there are plans to add materials from previous in-house digitization efforts to the database as well.


Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

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