Why did the University of Iowa Libraries join the Google Books Project?

  • On June 6, 2007, Google and the Big Ten Academic Alliance entered into a partnership that would permit Google to digitize millions of books owned by BTAA libraries, including the University of Iowa Libraries.  This partnership offers the library an opportunity to engage in a large-scale digitization project of its collections providing broad access to a wider audience.

What other libraries are involved in this project?

  • The Big Ten Academic Alliance and more than 40 other universities both nationally and internationally are Google Partners.

What University of Iowa Libraries collections will be digitized?

  • The University of Iowa Libraries is focusing on material that can be made widely available to users. This includes, but isn’t limited to public domain content published before 1923.  The Libraries will send books from the Main Library, Hardin Library for the Health SciencesLaw Library, and other branch libraries for scanning.  After scanning, books will be returned to the annex or the branch Libraries.

When will the project begin and how long will the project take?

  • The digitization project will begin early 2015 and the University of Iowa Libraries expects the project to be completed within a year.

In what order will the collections be processed?

  • After reviewing logistics and considering internal spaces, the library will ship books from the Main Library and Libraries Annex first for scanning.

How can I request a book that is currently at Google for digitization?

  • If you are a University of Iowa faculty, student or staff member you will can submit a request to Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery or consult a librarian. It is expected that a book will be unavailable for check-out for approximately 9 weeks once it has been selected for scanning.

How does this project benefit University of Iowa faculty, students and staff?

  • Digitized books in public domain will be accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
  • Indexing of digital content goes beyond the table of contents or chapter headings; it gets down to the textual level uncovering references that were previously obscure and unsearchable.
  • Digital copies help preserve our print copies.
  • The availability of digital texts and data offers new opportunities for scholarship.

How does this project benefit Iowa and non-University of Iowa researchers?

  • Since the digitized books are in public domain, the Libraries’ unique holdings will be available full text online to support local, national, and international research.

Who is funding this project?

  • Google assumes responsibility for digitization and transportation costs.  The University of Iowa Libraries has assumed responsibility for pre- and post-digitization processing cost by utilizing existing resources and staff expertise.

How were books selected for this digitization project?

  • The University of Iowa Libraries shared a snapshot of its catalog with Google for evaluation.  Based on this evaluation process, Google created a candidate pick-list of titles that they had not already scanned but wish to include in the Google Books Project.

Will the scanning process harm the books?

  • No. Google has developed an innovative proprietary process and technology for scanning books.  This process includes a detailed overview of books suitable for scanning.  The University of Iowa Libraries Preservation & Conservation Unit consistently monitors library collections for long-term access and adheres to the highest preservation standards.

How can I access digital copies returned from Google and how will the University of Iowa preserve the digital copies?

  • Digital copies scanned by Google will be available in HathiTrust. The Big Ten Academic Allianve, acting on behalf of its members, entered into an agreement with the HathiTrust. The HathiTrust infrastructure is a robust and secure environment for ensuring long-term preservation and access services for digitized content. HaithiTrust is a digital repository and a partnership of major research libraries and institutions committed to ensuring the cultural record is preserved and accessible into the future.

Who can I talk to if I have more questions about this project?

  • Please use our Project Feedback Form to submit questions not addressed in the FAQ.