UM-Flint Books Go Digital

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The University of Michigan and Google, Inc. have entered into a groundbreaking partnership to digitize the entire print collection of the University Library and the libraries on the Flint and Dearborn campuses.

Selected books from the University of Michigan-Flint's Frances Willson Thompson Library are now being pulled from the shelves for scanning as part of  the digital library project.

UM-Flint student Becky Lynn prepares books for shipping.

Each week from mid-July through November, Thompson Library staff will send 5,000 volumes to Google's Ann Arbor site for scanning.  The volumes will be shipped back to Flint the following week and reshelved.

In announcing the project, the University of Michigan University Library listed a number of reasons for embarking on the project:

  • The project will create new ways for users to search and access Library content, opening up our library collections to our own users and to users throughout the world
  • Although we have engaged in large-scale (preservation-based) conversion of parts of the library's collection for several years, we know that only through partnerships of this sort can digitization of this scale be achieved
  • We believe that, beyond providing basic access to library collections, this activity is critically transformative, enabling the University Library to build on and reconceive vital library services for the new millennium.

During July-August, UM-Flint will be sending 43,000 Thompson Library titles for digitizing.  By mid-September, most UM-Flint titles should be back on our shelves.  During the September-November period, we will be sending volumes from the UM-Ann Arbor Kresge Business Administration Library, a large portion of whose collection we have been shelving temporarily on the first floor of the Thompson Library.

To date,  Google has digitized more than half of the U-M's 7 million-plus volume collection.

"We on the Flint campus are delighted to contribute to this important effort, which will significantly expand access to the world's scholarly literature," said Bob Houbeck, director of the F.W. Thompson Library. "Volumes digitized through this project can be searched, and the full-text of out-of-copyright titles viewed, through the Mirlyn, through Google Book Search, and from the Hathi Trust Catalog."    ( ).

While a book is in process, its Mirlyn record will note that it is "on loan for scanning". Should it happen that during the two-weeks it is off the shelf, you need a copy of the book, use the Mirlyn GetThis feature to request an Ann Arbor copy: ( ); or, if Ann Arbor lacks the title, use the Mirlyn Interlibrary Loan link to request a copy from another library ( ).

If you have questions about the Thompson Library aspect of the project, contact either Director Bob Houbeck at or librarian Mickey Doyle at who is coordinating the Flint end of the transfer of volumes.

For questions about the overall UM-Google digitization project, contact Liene Karels at the University Library.

According to the U-M tentative schedule listed on the website,  the Law Library will be the last digital project in the summer of 2011.

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