New Student Edition 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 19C
Gog places University library books online
By Gabe Nelson
Daily Staff Reporter
Google released the full text of more than 10,000
books, thousands of which came from the University's
libraries, on its Google Print website yesterday.
The University is part of the Google Print Library
Project along with Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and the
New York Public Library, all of which are providing
Google with access to their libraries. Google's ultimate
goal is to make all of the world's books readily available
and searchable online.
But the legality of Google's enterprise is in question
because copyright law protects many of the volumes
Google hopes to release online. The Authors Guild
and five publishing houses have sued Google because it
plans to provide limited access to copyrighted books.
The books that went online yesterday had expired
While the entire text of copyrighted materials will
be searchable, Google plans to only display the term
being searched for within the document and the sen-
tences preceding and following it for context. Google
argues that this is permissible under fair use of copy-
righted materials and will not take money away from
the copyright holders.
"It's a great big balancing act, and that's what the
courts will be considering," Wilkin said.
University President Mary Sue Coleman supported
Google in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
The University will continue its association with
Google regardless of the legal squabbles, officials say.
"We stand behind Google," University spokes-
woman Kelly Cunningham said. "We entered the
partnership with Google believing (Google Print)
is completely legal, completely fair and does not
infringe on copyright laws."
Associate University Librarian John Wilkin said
Google approached the University for the project
because Google co-founder Larry Page, a University
alum, had long expressed interest in digitizing his alma
To expedite the copying of University books,
Google has a separate copying facility in the state,
Google hopes to eventually copy all of the nearly 7
million volumes in the University's libraries - whether
under copyright or in the public domain.
The Authors Guild argues that by releasing the
scanned books, Google takes money out of the hands
"It's been tradition in this country to believe in prop-
erty rights," Authors Guild president Nick Taylor wrote
in The Washington Post. "When did we decide that
socialism was the way to run the Internet?"
Many of the volumes in Buhr Shelving Facility, a
University facility for storing books that are out of cir-
culation, have been copied so far, and those in the pub-
lic domain are available on the Google Print website,
Included in the volumes are many long-forgotten
articles of historical value.
"When you go through stacks systematically, trea-
sures turn up, things that people had forgotten about,"
The treasures include a copy of "The Private
Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin," published
in 1818 and "The Emigrant's Guide," a series of
letters from 1828 addressed to English natives
considering immigration to the United States.
Cunningham said the items also include travel
accounts, Civil War regimental histories and
French- and German-language books.
But Google is not only interested in the University'
extensive research library. The University is a leader it
digital conversion technology and pioneered much of
the technology Google uses, Cunningham said.
While University techniques are fast enough to copy
one book per hour, Google's processes are even more
"Imagine something as fast as using a camera,
Wilkin said. "You open a book, take a picture, turn the
page, take another picture, and so on."
Google's methods also protect fragilebookshbecause
the process does not open books wide when copying.
And Google's digital captures are of quality akin tc
"Google produces high-fidelity, high-resolution
large-scale capture in such a way that the images are
nearly permanent surrogate for most print materials,
These procedures make millions of books, long
unavailable to the public, accessible to anyone with ar
- This article originally ran Nov. 4, 2005
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