29 Oct Proposed Google settlement could aid UW book digitization
Madison, Wis. – A proposed settlement announced today between Google and national author and publisher organizations could bring significant enhancements to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s digitization partnership with the information technology company, the university said.
UW-Madison has been an active contributor to the Google Book Project and is completing the second full year of its agreement with Google. To date, the university has digitized about 150,000 works from UW-Madison Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society.
“This proposed settlement, if approved, will have major implications for both the creators and consumers of books,” Edward Van Gemert, associate director of University Libraries, said in a university release. “The development of a commercial market for millions of in-copyright books that are currently out of print or unavailable would be an attractive development for authors, publishers, and readers.”
Under the terms of the settlement, a model for institutional subscriptions would provide universities with broad access to in-copyright material for academic institutions. In keeping with the original goals of the project, Van Gemert says it will greatly expand the amount of public domain material that is accessible to all.
UW-Madison’s digitization focus has been on public domain materials from the late 19th century and early 20th century, including state and federal government documents from a variety of locations.
The university also has digitized the entire collection of genealogical materials for the Wisconsin Historical Society. According to Van Gemert, this is a very important and widely used collection that is now searchable online, eliminating the need for users to travel to Madison for access.
A second area of focus has been the Historical Society’s Native American collection, which has about 8,300 items and covers all tribes in North America. About 30 percent of this collection has been sent to Google for digitization.
Another collection valuable to public schools has been the Historical Society’s 6,300-item African-American collection.
Van Gemert said these collections were chosen because they are used heavily by schools, and their online availability should spur even greater usage. He adds that the university has already seen a spike in usage of the materials on Google’s online public access catalog.
Other digitized collections from Wisconsin include the following:
- The “Cutter” collection from the Kohler Art Library, which includes more than 200,000 titles of American and European history.
- The labor history collection from WHS.
- Wisconsin State government documents from WHS and from Steenbock Libraries.
- The patent collection from Wendt Engineering Library.