U-M first to sign new digitization agreement with Google

May 20, 2009
Kelly Eileen Cunningham

ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan today announced that it has expanded its historic agreement with Google Inc. to create digital copies of millions of U-M library books and journals.

The amended agreement, which strengthens library preservation efforts and increases the public’s access to books, is possible because of Google’s pending settlement with a broad class of authors and publishers. The U-M library is the first in the nation to expand its partnership with Google.

The contract amendment is an important step in ensuring that the university’s vision of broad public access to its print collection becomes a reality.

“Through this amendment we are establishing a solid foundation for future library work and providing the greatest public good for library users,” said Paul N. Courant, U-M librarian and dean of libraries. Courant also is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Economics and the Harold T. Shapiro Collegiate Professor in the Ford School of Public Policy.

“Our agreement with authors and publishers will allow anyone in the U.S. to benefit from the wealth of knowledge contained in our nation’s most renowned libraries,” said Dan Clancy, engineering director at Google. “We’re tremendously excited that University of Michigan has expanded our partnership to join us in this effort to unlock access to millions of books in the U.S.”

The agreement opens up the U-M library’s extensive collections of 8 million works to readers and students throughout the United States with free previews, the ability to buy access to the university?s collections online and through subscriptions at other institutions.

Through provisions in Google’s pending settlement with authors and publishers and the amended U-M agreement, Google will provide a free public access terminal, allowing every public and collegiate library in the country that chooses?from those in small towns to those at large universities?equal access to the U-M materials.

The agreement also calls for Google to contribute millions of dollars to establish up to two new research centers where scholars will be able to conduct research that would not be possible without the large number of digitized works.

As other university libraries sign amended agreements, that means that eventually tens of millions of books will be accessible to library patrons coast to coast, Courant said.

The amended U-M agreement also provides for:

• Expanded opportunities for U-M and Google to provide users with print disabilities immediate access to millions of books.

• Improved digital copies for preservation efforts to protect against the inevitable deterioration of our books and also protect against loss or damages such as that experienced by New Orleans-area libraries after Hurricane Katrina.

• The creation of new opportunities for large-scale analysis of the written record.

• The expansion of the collaborative effort among libraries to build a shared storehouse of digital library content called the HathiTrust through support from Google.

• The ability of U-M and other participating libraries to review, and through arbitration challenge, the pricing for institutional subscriptions to ensure Google fulfills its commitment to enable widespread adoption of these services.