New Brunswick Libraries and the Google Book Project

Google carts will arrive at Rutgers on March 2 for loading, with three quarters of them going to NBL.  Of the ca. 194,000 volumes listed on the Google candidates spreadsheet, roughly 86% were in the New Brunswick Libraries.

Nearly 29% of the NBL Google candidates are in the Annex, and we’re beginning the process there.  The NBL Google Team made the decision to use the 1900 publication date as the cutoff for anticipating whether scanned material might eventually become freely available and would not need to return to RUL.  This date is a compromise and approximation; copyright findings are a complex process with later or earlier dates for American and non-American publications.  Stephanie Bartz arranged the Annex Google candidates in call number and (for the journals) title order, and I gave NBL selectors two months to decide for materials in their subjects whether to accept the “send–do not return” option for pre-1900 publications, or “opt out” and require materials be returned.  RUL will have search-only access in HathiTrust to scanned in-copyright publications, and we will retain the hard copy of these volumes after scanning.

Many NBL subject specialists weighed in with their preferences by initialing the spreadsheets or expressing them in meetings and online.  The Annex candidates include many books and journals that saw the bulk of their circulation many decades ago and are now in poor condition, but available digitally or via interlibrary loan.  As we finalized the Annex spreadsheets, I made decisions where selectors had not based on their expressed preferences and a conservative interpretation of RUL’s Print Retention and Withdrawal Guidelines that permit withdrawal of last copies if we have perpetual digital access to the content or at least five copies in North American libraries.  Our current estimate is that of 54,115 volumes on the Google spreadsheet, 88% will be sent but returned, and 12% (mostly journals) will be sent but not returned with the prospect of both digital access and continued interlibrary loan access to the hard copies.  I believe we found a good procedure that observes RUL policy and values the expertise of our subject specialists while eventually gaining badly needed shelf space for our Annex.

Jim Niessen