One million books scanned and returned to CIC university libraries

Friday, February 04, 2011 at 7:42 AM

Today we're celebrating an important milestone: Google has digitized one million books from member libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). The CIC is the consortium of the Big Ten member universities and the University of Chicago.

Each of these volumes has been scanned, translated from image to text with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and added to the Google Books index. Once digitized, the books are shipped back to our originating libraries to resume their journeys from bookshelves to backpacks.

While Google preserves library books in digital form, and makes them more accessible to more people as a result, it also sends participating libraries (at no cost to us) digital copies for our own archives or other non-commercial use. Accordingly, the CIC libraries are making hundreds of thousands of the recently digitized public domain volumes accessible through their partnership with the HathiTrust Digital Library.

We became Google's 16th Library Project partner in June 2007. Google Books has now partnered with more than 40 libraries and scanned more than 15 million books worldwide. Books that have only been available for use within the walls of our libraries have found new readers now that they are open to the world. Some examples of CIC titles available for reading include: An Unwritten Account of a Spy of Washington, published in 1892; The 1901 Pipe and Quid: An Essay on Tobacco; and The Sun: a familiar description of his phaenomena, published in 1885.

While we are pausing to celebrate this moment with Google today, we're not resting on our library laurels. We have a long way to go to digitize all of our books. In fact, CIC libraries have agreed to provide as many as 10 million volumes to this ambitious project, out of total collections approaching 85 million volumes. -- so this is just the beginning.


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