Google will digitize hundreds of thousands of books from the Library, including selected portions of the Library's American history, literature, and humanities works collections, and make them searchable online through Google Book Search. With 13 physical locations as well as the original Rotunda, the Library contains more than five million volumes, 17 million manuscripts, rare books and archives, and rapidly-growing digital collections.
For scholars and readers all over the world, this offers even more access to the great works of history and culture. By simply searching online, researchers across the globe can discover books held on the shelves of the U.Va. Library, including a broad range of materials from American literature to Buddhist studies.
"This is an historic moment," said University President John T. Casteen III. "When Jefferson designed the University, he placed the library at its center -- both physically and academically. Reading and the quest for knowledge were all-important to him. Reaching out into the world -- what we now call Globalization -- was central to his vision of what an American university must do to promote the knowledge that sustains personal freedom. To have the library that is the clearest single emblem of this vision now assume a role in a vast, international digital library has special meaning here. It puts a distinctly contemporary meaning to our founder's dream of making knowledge accessible to all people."
Anyone will be able to freely view, browse and read U.Va.'s books in the public domain. For books protected by copyright, scholars searching on Book Search will be able to see the basic background of relevant books (such as the title and the author's name), and at most a few lines of text related to their search. They can also find information about where they can buy or borrow a book.
The University of Virginia becomes the latest partner in the Google Books Library Project, which also includes the University of California, Harvard University, University Complutense of Madrid, University of Michigan, the New York Public Library, Oxford University, Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Google is also conducting a pilot project with the Library of Congress.
The Google Books Library Project digitizes books from major libraries around the world and makes their collections searchable on Google Book Search. More information can be found at: http://books.google.com .
Also see today's blog post on the Google Book Search about the announcement: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/.