Google Inc. on Wednesday said the University of California has agreed to having books from its libraries' collections digitized and made searchable within the company's controversial library project.
The UC system's 34 million books are spread across more than 100 libraries on 10 campuses, making it the largest academic research library in the world. The full text of books in the public domain will be available through Google Book Search, while only snippets of copyrighted books will be viewable, along with information about where they can be bought or borrowed.
The UC system joins the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University and the New York Public Library in making book collections available to Google. The latter are making available only books in the public domain.
The participant's support of the project is in contrast to writers and publishers who are suing Google to prevent them from digitizing books without first getting their permission.
The UC system believes Google's policy of providing only snippets of copyrighted works in search results is sufficient protection.
"As a public institution, the UC believes it's important to make as many of our public domain materials as widely available as possible," Jennifer Colvin, spokeswoman for the California Digital Library project, said. "Copyrighted works have restrictions."
John Oakley, chair of UC's Academic Senate and professor of law at UC Davis, said in a joint statement with Google that the "academic enterprise is fundamentally about discovery."
"We contribute to it immeasurably by unlocking the wealth of information maintained within our libraries and exposing it to the latest that search technologies have to offer," Oakley said.
Google announced its library project last year, prompting separate lawsuits by the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild. The organizations are arguing that Google should first seek the permission of copyright holders before digitizing books. Google is arguing that its actions are legal, since it only offers snippets of copyrighted material. The cases are pending.