"This is a great leap forward," said Michael A. Keller, Stanford University Librarian, and publisher of both the Stanford University Press and the HighWire Press (Stanford's online co-publishing service for scholarly journals). "We have been digitizing texts for years now to make them more accessible and searchable, but with books, as opposed to journals, such efforts have been severely limited in scope for both technical and financial reasons. The Google arrangement catapults our effective digital output from the boutique scale to the truly industrial. Through this program and others like it, Stanford intends to promote learning and to stimulate innovation."
Stanford will provide books from its library collections to Google, which will operate scanning facilities and create searchable digital page images. Books will not be disbound or otherwise harmed in the digitization process. Once digitized, the books will be returned to Stanford and re-shelved. Stanford sees this as an opportunity to provide a public good that also strengthens the core mission of the university.
Today's announcement is an expansion of Google's publisher-focused Google Print program, which aims to make books and other offline information searchable online. Google is also working with several other major research libraries to digitally scan their collections and over time will integrate this content into the Google index.
"Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize to be searchable online. Today we're pleased to announce our work with the Stanford libraries to digitize their collections so that every Google user can search them instantly," said Larry Page, Google co-founder and president of products.
For Internet users, Google's library program makes it possible to find books that may not have been accessible before. For instance, users will be able to find out-of-print books as well as titles that weren't previously available anywhere but on a library shelf. Library content will be displayed in keeping with copyright law. Users will be able to browse the full text of public domain works and bibliographic data about copyrighted material that is responsive to the search request. For more information and examples, visit http://print.google.com/library.
Google was founded in 1998 by Stanford doctoral students Larry Page and Sergey Brin and has since grown to become a globally recognized search provider. Its long-anticipated initial public offering of stock in 2004 made headlines for months. For more information, visit www.google.com.
For more information about Stanford University's engagement with publishing and access to information, visit http://library.stanford.edu, http://highwire.stanford.edu, www.sup.org and www-csli.stanford.edu.