I was reading last week's Chronicle of Higher Education and the Hot Type column talked about a new project, HathiTrust, which has grown out of the digitization at Google Books. Click on the title to this post to visit the HathiTrust website, which has lots more information.
Basically, the original group of libraries have pooled their digitized resources to work together for preservation and access. They are following the same policy as Google as far as copyrighted materials are concerned. So searchers outside these institutions cannot access the materials still copyrighted, about 84% of the total. Some participants are still in the process of adding their digitized images. There is already a list of what is available at HathiTrust (something users wished for at Google Books and never got). And soon there will be a search engine -- time will tell what quality. But the librarians are committing to work together on the search and display capabilities, which I think bodes well.
I recognized the word Hathi, from Rudyard Kipling's good ol' Jungle Book, as the Hindi name for the elephant, who remembers everything. The HathiTrust is a project where the large university libraries who participated in the Google Books project have pooled their digitization, working as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, explained as...
The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is the academic equivalent of the Big Ten, plus the University of Chicago. It includes the University of Illinois, The University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University and University of Wisconsin-Madison.They are looking for partners, and do expect that this project will complement both the Google Books project and the Open Content Alliance. This seems like a really exciting development!
Hail, Hathi! (image is the Hathi logo from their website, www.hathitrust.org )