Did You Say 3,000 a Day!

While we’ve seen lots of coverage of the Google Book Search project and the related activities, there’s been a dearth of inside information about the arrangements between Google and the participating libraries. Today the Chronicle of Higher Education offers an article (by Scott Carlson) that will give academic librarians a bit more insight into that relationship by providing a link to the actual contract between Google and the University of California Library System. The contract was obtained in response to an open-records request from The Chronicle.

According to Carlson’s report:

the university will provide at least 2.5 million volumes to Google for scanning, starting with 600 books a day and ratcheting up over time to 3,000 volumes a day. Materials pulled for scanning will be back on the shelves of their libraries within 15 days.

By anyone’s standards that is a heck of a lot of books being digitized each day. If only Google would stop by my library next month – at that rate our whole collection would be digitized in six weeks.

The article includes some commentary from the Association of American University Presses and the Open Content Alliance, neither of whom are entirely at ease with the Book Search project. I suspect that new and surprising tidbits of information about the breadth and depth of this project will continue to make their way into the public domain, yielding yet greater awareness about the true scope of Google’s digitization efforts.

2 thoughts on “Did You Say 3,000 a Day!”

  1. I’m a bit surprised that people are shocked-and-appalled the contract states the library won’t be able to share their digital copies of in-copyright work. To do so (in their entireties) would be a blatant violation of copyright and even Lawrence Lessig has said that would be illegal and not something he would favor. UMich takes the same stance. I understand the concern that a commercial entity will have such a large digital collection and nobody else will, but (unless the pending lawsuits say otherwise) there’s nothing to stop others from collaborating with libraries and doing the same thing. Except resources.

    Should libraries be ashamed they’re collaborating with a wealthy corporation that’s willing to foot the bill (including lawyer’s fees) just because nobody else can afford to step up to the plate? I guess there’s an argument for that, but I’m not sold. If Google were to include an exclusivity clause I’d say no way, but that’s not the case.

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