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UCal and Google in CHE

Thursday, August 3, 2006

U. of California Is in Talks to Join Google's Library-Scanning Project


The University of California is negotiating with Google to join the search-engine giant's book-digitization project. If the company and the university system agree to a deal -- which, sources within the university say, could happen soon -- Google might have access to as many as 34 million books within the system.

Details about the negotiations and the potential agreement, including who might pay for the digitization project, are scant. The university system's Board of Regents heard a presentation, "Large-Scale Digitization of UC Library Holdings: An Historic Opportunity," at a meeting in late July, but the minutes of that meeting are not yet available.

Daniel Greenstein, director of the system's California Digital Library, would not offer specifics of the negotiations, other than to say, "The deal is not done."

Representatives of Google did not respond to telephone calls and e-mail messages from The Chronicle on Wednesday. News of the talks was first reported in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.

The University of California would join libraries at Harvard and Stanford Universities, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the University of Oxford, as well as the New York Public Library, all of which have agreements with the search-engine company to scan portions of their collections. Michigan's agreement appears to be the most comprehensive: Google is scanning the university's entire library holdings of more than seven million volumes.


Copyright 2006 Chronicle of Higher Education