Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ghent U joins the Google Library Project

Ghent University has joined the Google Library Project, becoming its 16th library partner and the fifth from a non-English speaking country.  From Ghent's announcement:

Until now all we have done is to accumulate treasures and carefully arrange them on the shelves of our libraries. We seem to have forgotten that this immense capital, little used today, could bear abundant fruit. Let us hasten, therefore, if it is possible to make it completely available to scholars by publishing a universal catalogue.

          (Ferdinand Vander Haeghen, 1867)

Ferdinand Vander Haeghen (1830-1913), Chief Librarian in the nineteenth century already had an Open Access attitude....

It is 140 years later now and Ghent University still has this open mind to projects like Google Book Search. Ghent was the first Belgian University to sign the Berlin declaration on Open Access last February. The Berlin declaration encourages researchers to publish in Open access and holders of cultural heritage to support open access by providing their resources on the internet.

Ghent University is the Belgian partner in the European DRIVER project that aims to create a portal for freely accessible European research output. The University library already added 40,000 cultural heritage photographs and almost 2,700 publications in Open Access. 

And now we are really excited by the perspective of adding so many out op copyright books in Open Access through the partnership with Googles Library Project. An important asset for the cooperation is the wonderful collection  kept in [our] Booktower. These books came into the library with the French revolution when convents and abbeys were confiscated. The chief librarians in the nineteenth century succeeded in bringing together valuable and unique collections. The most active one was the above mentioned Ferdinand Vander Haeghen. More details can be found in background information.

The partnership with the Google Library Project is the result of an ICT-mission from the Flemish Minister for Science and Innovation Fientje Moerman in which the Interdisciplinary Institute for Broadband Technology (IBBT) participated....

Also see the shorter announcements from Google Book Search and Google Librarian Central.

PS:  Google says Ghent is the 15th library partner, but I've been counting the Library of Congress, which participates through the World Digital Library.