Surfacing treasures of the deep with the University of California

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 4:44 PM

One of the early pioneers in the library project, the University of California became a Google Books partner in 2006. Since then, over two million books have been made available online from the UC's vast collection, which is comprised of 100 research libraries housed across the ten UC campuses. Because of the hard work of UC staffers, interested scholars no longer need to travel to San Diego, Santa Cruz, or Los Angeles to work with unique or hard-to-find texts held at these campuses. An Internet connection is sufficient to access portions of what is collectively the largest research/academic library in the world.

One example of such a special collection is UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), the world’s largest oceanography library, where digitization was recently completed. Peter Brueggeman, the director of The Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library, has this to say about Google’s work with UCSD to digitize these materials:

"The Scripps Oceanography Library has been in existence for more than 100 years, so digitizing and providing access to this extensive book and journal collection helps to create a larger and more complete digital library of materials on the marine environment for searching and use, including older works dating back to the 18th century in full-text. While these books and other materials have long been available on our library shelves for individual use, Google Books’ in-depth cross-collection searching feature is definitely a game-changer for scholarly research. Google’s digitization of our journal backruns makes these older scholarly resources searchable for scholars and other researchers."

Here are just a few examples of the notable books that we’ve digitized from the SIO collection:

  • The Fishes of the Swedish South Polar Expedition, by Einar Lonnberg, 1905
    This report documents the fishes collected on a famous Antarctic expedition, the Swedish South-Polar Expedition of 1901-1903 led by Otto Nordenskjold. Although the expedition was a great scientific success and resulted in the collection of many species new to science, the explorers' ship was crushed by ice. The crew were forced to build and live in a stone hut on an Antarctic island, subsisting on birds eggs and penguins until they were rescued by a ship from Argentina.

  • The Land and Sea Mammals of Middle America and the West Indies, by Daniel Giraud Elliot. 1904
    This book has a comprehensive collection of illustrations along with a long list of common names for each species. Did you know that in 1904 there were over 65 different common names for types of squirrels?

  • The Stalk-eyed Crustacea, by Walter Faxon, 1895
    This book includes a report on crustaceans compiled during a United States expedition to Central and South America and the Galapagos aboard the famous ship the Albatross. The Albatross, a ship built by the U.S. government specifically for marine research, was a precursor to today’s U.S. oceanographic fleet of ships.

The SIO collection, like the Bodleian Library at Oxford University and the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas adds to the overall richness of the corpus of material available on Google Books. We hope that you enjoy exploring these great volumes as much as we have.


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