Google begins project to digitize MSU Libraries
MSU library employee Laura Carter scans a magazine on the university’s $130,000 large format scanner in March 2011. Carter is one of the people responsible for digitalizing select works in the library to make them more accessible to the public. State News File Photo
For some, a cold and snowy walk to the Main Library might no longer be necessary to do research or reading for a class. Google is making changes that could eliminate the need for students to leave their homes to access some library resources.
Google is digitizing about 50,000 books from the MSU Libraries during an 18-month span. The first shipment for the Google Books collection will be leaving the Main Library on Feb. 12. The books are expected to be completed by June 2014, with no financial exchange made between Google and MSU, MSU Libraries Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator Ruth Ann Jones said.
“Resources will be available to anyone with a MSU ID from anywhere in the world — students that are studying abroad, that commute, that don’t want to walk in the dead of winter or need to use materials in the middle of the night,” Jones said. “We are supporting distant learning in whatever way that may be.”
Materials that are open to the public domain will be available in full text. This means students and faculty can access this material from their home computers.
For titles protected by copyright, a term can be searched online and a few lines before and after the search term will be shown along with a link to where the book can be purchased or found in a library.
These changes hopefully will help students find books more effectively, rather than spending extra time searching the library’s electronic catalogue, Jones said.
Google made the announcement in 2008 that they would be digitizing many books in Committee on Institutional Cooperation, or CIC, school libraries. This includes all Big Ten universities, plus the University of Chicago. All books digitized in CIC school libraries will be available through the HathiTrust Digital Library, a partnership among 71 university libraries.
Supply chain management freshman Mary Murphy uses the library from time to time during the school year for group projects, studying and writing papers, and said having the books online will speed up the homework process.
“It can sometimes take a long time to look up a book and then search for it in the library,” Murphy said.
“I feel like books being available online will potentially save a ton of time and make it easier to access books.”
There will be books included from almost every discipline, with a slightly greater number of agriculture-related items, Haka said.
“People (will) no longer have to physically come to the library, which creates more convenience at even greater distances,” Director of MSU Libraries Cliff Haka said.
“They don’t have to borrow or loan the books anymore, and this enables literally universal access to the library’s resources.”
The digitization of books also can help preserve them longer, said Peter Berg, associate director for special collections and preservation at MSU Libraries.
“Because many of our books, particularly the ones that are being digitized, are quite old and the paper is fragile, electronic copies will help save on wear and tear on the copies,” Berg said.