Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More on the CIC-Google deal

Roy Tennant, Something for Nothing and Books for Free, Digital Libraries blog, June 19, 2007.

On June 6 twelve universities cooperating as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) announced an interesting new partnership with Google. Unlike previous Google-Library mass digitization agreements, an explicit outcome will be a public, shared digital repository of all the open access content. To this point, the only Google partner library to aggressively mount the digitized books in its own repository has been the University of Michigan. Therefore, it surprises no one that the University of Michigan, which had already developed their MBooks platform for its own digitized books, will serve as the central repository for the CIC project.

This is great news for us all, since it will make this content available to everyone in a repository managed by a library. The University of Michigan has a great deal of experience with large online text collections, and therefore is almost uniquely suited to take on this role.

This project raises the bar for the other libraries participating in mass digitization projects. Most of the libraries cooperating with Google are making no effort to mount the resulting files themselves. Some may not even be keeping a copy of the files. I think it is disturbing that we don't even know how true that statement might be. So although this is a wonderful step in providing library-based access to this content, we still have far to go. We really need all the open access content from mass digitization projects easily accessible to all from library servers.