Last week the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Wisconsin-Madison expanded their Google Book Search agreements. This news follows the University of Michigan's recent expansion to their agreement. The final hearing for the Google Book Search Settlement is scheduled for October 7, 2009, and if approved, anyone will be able to gain access to the titles that have been scanned and digitized from these libraries.
According to a posting on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s website, Google has also been scanning the works from the Wisconsin Historical Society in conjunction with the university library. Together, the titles make up one of the largest collections of historical materials in the United States and to date over 200,000 of the works have been digitized. Ken Frazier, Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries commented, “Our original project with Google was undertaken in the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea - UW's commitment to making useful information and knowledge available beyond the confines of the university. Now, our new agreement will promote equitable access to knowledge even further by giving every student in the U.S. access to the same books, whether they're on campus or not."
Another posting on the University of Texas at Austin website also discusses the opportunity to expand access to their works. Fred Heath, Vice Provost and Libraries Director commented, “The new agreement between the University of Texas Libraries and Google insures that our participation in the project will fulfill our initial primary goals of discovery, preservation and access. Additional provisions will enhance local access while allowing for the introduction of rich materials from our collections to a broad audience."
Meanwhile, the Justice Department’s investigation on whether or not the Google Book Search agreement violates antitrust regulations is still ongoing. In June, the Justice Department issued civil investigative demands to Google, The Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, and individual publishers.