Via Resource Shelf, we learn of a report in Library Journal that says Google is close to settling a three-year-old lawsuit with publishers surrounding Google Book Search. Meanwhile, some of Google’s university partners have banded together to launch their own book search service, Hathi Trust.
In the legal case, five publishers sued to stop Google from scanning the entire content of books that are still under copyright protection. Google has said that only a small portion of the scanned books are made available through Google Book Search, so the program constitutes “fair use.” They also say publishers can opt out of the program.
Rumors in the past week are that negotiations have “heated up” and a settlement is “imminent.” Spokespersons for both Google and the Association of American Publishers dismissed the speculation.
Meanwhile, the book scanning continues. Although some publishers are unhappy about Google’s scanning of copyrighted material, more than two dozen major libraries have been cooperating in the Google Books Library Project.
Earlier this week, a group of major US university research libraries announced HathiTrust, a shared archive of their digital book collections. A University of Michigan librarian told the New York Times that a “majority of the 2 million or so volumes already in HathiTrust were digitized by Google.” As part of its deal with university, Google gives a copy of what’s been scanned to them. HathiTrust will also include some books that the libraries have digitized themselves.
Want to search Hathi? You can’t easily, right now. The site lists some options but say a single search box is in the works.
Postscript Barry: Google Doubles Number Of Book Scan Publisher Partners from Reuters has more details on Google’s recent book scan initiatives. Plus you can see more details at Techmeme.