By Heather Christenson, CDL Mass Digitization Project Manager

The UC Libraries are in the process of scanning millions of books from our print collections so that ultimately users will be able to discover and access these books in digital form.  Our libraries have embraced this enterprise with both diligence and enthusiasm.  We’ve had a very dynamic couple of months in mass digitization activities across UC, with contributions from a broad representation of UC campuses.

On campus
The following UC Libraries’ locations have been contributing directly to our mass digitization projects: UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, NRLF and SRLF.  Staff members at these locations mobilize consistently and impressively on a daily basis to provide an enormous number of UC books for digitization.  Because of our efforts at NRLF and SRLF, books from almost every UC campus have entered the digitization flow.

In the news!
NRLF, UCSC, and UCSD have all recently been featured in news stories about the Google Book Search library project.  This is a testament to keen public interest in digital books, and to UC’s role in the worldwide wave of mass digitization.  It’s wonderful to see UC Librarians in the spotlight!

Behind the scenes at CDL
With the expansion of our Google projects to multiple locations, there has been a need to centralize some of the technical aspects of the operations (metadata transfer, sharing of files).  CDL has set up a shared server for automated deposit and transfer of files between CDL, campuses and digitization partners.  Work also continues on the CDL Mass Digitization Inventory Database (MDID), which will enable us to track the digitization workflow and make information available to the campuses for collection management purposes.  MDID is on schedule to be operational this summer.

CDL and UC Berkeley Library staff have been actively engaged in deliberations with technical staff at Google, Microsoft and the Internet Archive regarding quality standards, metadata, and other technical standards for our scanning projects.  CDL continues to download the book files made available to us by Google.  The Digital Preservation Group has been assessing cost models and options for storage and preservation of the tidal wave of files coming from mass digitization.

In March, Google asked CDL to test their new Google Book Search Book Availability API (application programming interface), and the CDL Bibliographic Services team rose to the occasion.  They used the API to create a “hook” within a test version of the Melvyl catalog, which extends the ability for UC students, faculty and staff to find the mass digitized content.  With this API, the UC community will be able to find not only what UC has digitized, but they will also have access to content digitized by any other Google partner.  CDL is planning on moving this into production Melvyl, after we complete our UC consultation process.  More information can be found within the official UC press release.

Inside CDL web site
We’ve just rolled out the mass digitization pages on Inside CDL.  You can now read about our projects, view the contracts with our digitization partners, take a look at media coverage, and most importantly get links to all the locations where you can access the digitized UC books.  Of particular interest is the extensive FAQ section.

Seeking testimonials
As we think ahead to effective ways for UC to collaboratively capitalize on this growing digital collection, CDL is interested to hear of positive experiences you’ve had in utilizing UC’s digitized books.  Please feel free to send them my way:
–Heather Christenson, CDL Mass Digitization Project Manager (heather.christenson@ucop.edu).