February 17, 2018

UT Austin Joins Google Scan Plan

By LJ Staff

The University of Texas at Austin last week announced that it was expanding both in cyberspace and on campus. On the eve of the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, UT Austin officials announced they had reached an agreement to become Google’s newest partner in its controversial digitization project. Under the "multi-year" agreement, Google will digitize "at least one million volumes" from the UT Libraries, working from a selection list prepared by the libraries that will include both books in the public domain, which will be freely viewable online, and books still under copyright, for which only index information and "snippets" will be viewable.

Dennis Dillon, UT associate director for research services, said the project will increase the libraries’ effectiveness. "The best collections of information are only as useful as the quality of the tools available for discovering and accessing that information," Dillon said, adding that participating in Google’s Book Search would make the library’s collections visible and in many cases accessible to "a much wider range of scholars and students." The partnership comes as no surprise. UT has been innovative and aggressive in pursuing the digital future; UT officials last year expressed to LJ a desire to be involved in the project, suggesting that their diverse collection would be a rich addition to Google’s project. Indeed, Google officials lauded UT’s "unique set of rare books and manuscripts" in its Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, citing "special concentrations on Brazil, Chile, Peru, and the countries of the Rio de la Plata and Central America."