University of Wisconsin-Madison and Google Make Rich Historical Collection Available Online

October 11, 2006

If you’re a history buff – whether it’s the history of government, medicine, engineering, or even Wisconsin cheddar – searching for historical information just got a little bit easier, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison becomes the latest library to join the Google Books Library Project.

Together, the UW-Madison and Google will expand access to hundreds of thousands of public and historical materials from the UW-Madison libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library. Some wonderful examples from their collection can be found here:

The combined 7.2 million holdings of these libraries comprise one of the largest collections of historical documents and books to be found in the United States. The collections are ranked 11th in North America by the Association of Research Libraries in Washington, D.C.

"Wisconsin is in a position to take a leading role in making the primary documents of U. S. government history freely accessible on the Internet for anyone to find and use," says UW-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell.

The Wisconsin project will initially focus on library collections that are free of copyright restrictions. An individual looking for information will be able to use Google Book Search to search the full text and locate the printed works digitized from the UW-Madison and WHS collections.

Anyone will be able to freely view, browse, and read the UW-Madison’s public domain documents, including many of the treasures in the libraries’ historic and special collections. For books protected by copyright, users just get basic background (such as the book’s title and the author’s name), at most a few lines of text related to their search, and information about where they can buy or borrow a book. If publishers or authors don’t want to have their books digitized, they will be excluded.

UW-Madison is the latest partner to join the Google Books Library Project, which also includes the University of California, University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, the New York Public Library, Oxford University and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Google is also conducting a pilot project with the Library of Congress.

The Google Books Library Project digitizes books from major libraries around the world and makes their collections searchable on Google Book Search. More information can be found at: