Friday, November 09, 2007

Michigan and Yale Take Heat on Commercial Digitization

In response to accusations that the UM Library has sold itself out to Google, Dean of Libraries Paul Courant told the Library Journal (Nov. 11 LJNewswire), "As part of our arrangement with Google [for 7 million volumes scanned in 6 years], they give us copies of all the digital files, and we can keep them forever," he wrote. "Our only financial outlay is for storage and the cost of providing library services to our users. Anyone who searches U-M's library catalog Mirlyn can access the scanned files via our MBooks interface. That's right, anyone." A related LJ article appeared on Nov. 12: "University of Michigan Library Head, in New Blog, Defends Google Deal."

A related article appeared in the Nov. 9 Yale Daily News, regarding the contract signed between Yale and Microsoft. The reporter points out Yale's endowment now exceeds $22 billion, and the 2008 library budget is $89.6 million. And assuming a $3.5 million price tag, covering the full processing of 100,000 volumes would cost only one-half of one percent of the University's $615 million capital expense budget. (Though estimate I've heard was more like $7.5 million).

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