Google has made arrangements to fully scan three university libraries as part of the “googleprint” program. Works which are no longer copyrighted will be generally available. Works with current copyright will be term searchable, and will allow viewing either of select pages, or will tell where the book can be viewed or borrowed. The University of Michigan has over seven million volumes in it’s library that will be scanned over the next several years.
You can already see a sample of the works. More will be coming on line over the next six months. Neat stuff, but why Michigan? Well I can think of a few reasons. First, the two founders of this company, Larry Page and Sergey Brin are good guys, one of whom grew up in Michigan and attended (drum roll please) the University of Michigan.
I wonder — despite the fact that this is a wonderful undertaking for many reasons — how much of a gift-in-kind this is for Google. The tax ramifications should be highly beneficial. Every time I think what better move could they have made … they make yet a better move. These guys have the gift.