Friday, December 15, 2006

Ball State Libraries Provide Links to Millions of e-books

In support of teaching, learning, and research at Ball State, the University Libraries provide access to millions of e-books made available through the Google Book Search Project (GBSP), a dynamic partnership between Google, universities, publishers, and authors.

This growing digital collection include texts from some of the world’s most respected academic and civic libraries, including Harvard, Stanford, University of Michigan, Oxford’s Bodleian Library, and the New York Public Library.

The GBSP is a key component of Google’s ambitious mission to “… organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” and it is good for libraries, too!

GBSP allows the University Libraries to supplement our rich print and electronic information assets with well-developed digital collections from around the world.

The project’s “full view” books that are in the public domain, i.e., published before 1923, or that are displayed through publisher permission, are often downloadable. The “Find this book in a library” link launches an open WorldCat search for the book and can help users identify nearby libraries that may hold the requested item.

Special priority was given to public domain books during the early development of the project because of the complexities of copyright law, and these older books, some dating back to the 16th Century, make up a large part of the full-text collections. Even when the full, electronic text is not available because of copyright, many publishers and authors are allowing full-text searching of their books on Google.

Using the fruit of this project, a researcher can easily discover whether a book is relevant to their research, saving time and money spent on interlibrary loan or purchasing requests for texts that turn out to be inapplicable to the information need.

The University Libraries are engaged in identifying and leveraging the power of new resources designed to make scholarly information readily available to the Ball State community. Directing users to GBSP is one way that the University Libraries are promoting open access to online information, redefining education and research in an environment of seamless knowledge discovery and increased digital integration.


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