This month, the University of California San Diego will send its final shipment of carts filled with library books to be digitized by Google as part of the Google Books Library Project. In total, well over half a million UC San Diego Library volumes have been sent to Google to be digitized and deposited in HathiTrust. This will be the third time the university has taken part in the project. 

UC San Diego joined as an early Google Books partner in 2008. From 2008 to 2011 the campus sent over 470K volumes to be digitized. Since rejoining the project  in 2017, UC San Diego Library has sent over 111K books. The project paused in March 2020 due pandemic shutdowns, but the campus resumed sending shipments to be digitized in November 2021.

Tens of thousands of volumes from UC San Diego's International Relations, Pacific Studies, and East Asian Language collections were digitized in the first three years of the project. When UC San Diego rejoined the Google Library Project in 2017, the campus included large numbers of US federal government documents, dissertations, and special collections volumes in its shipments. But throughout all phases of participation in the project, hundreds of thousands of books from the general library collection were digitized.

UC San Diego embarked on the Google Books Library project under the pioneering leadership of Audrey Geisel University Librarian emeritus, Brian Schottlaender, who was enthusiastic about UC San Diego joining the project, and who believed that the UC San Diego Library was “uniquely positioned to be part of this effort to make that access more broadly available to the general public”. Erik Mitchell, who succeeded Schottlaender as the Audrey Geisel University Librarian in 2018, has continued to support Google digitization and HathiTrust: “It is so exciting to see the volumes we contribute for digitization made available in HathiTrust. This partnership with Google has been such a benefit to libraries and library users.“

UC San Diego’s participation in the Google Books Project has produced significant achievements, including the digitization of over 100,000 volumes from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library. UC San Diego librarians worked with CDL and HathiTrust staff to create what was at the time the largest stand-alone HathiTrust collection. Roughly 22% of this collection is full view access. UC San Diego colleagues collaborated with the California Digital Library (CDL) to improve the online Scripps collection by remediating metadata and assigning Creative Commons Licenses to UC-authored volumes which resulted in more volumes being open for full view access. Additional Scripps volumes were locally digitized by UC San Diego and added to the collection.

In addition to Google digitization, UC San Diego has itself scanned and contributed roughly 1,200 volumes to HathiTrust and Google Books through its local digitization efforts. While the campus will no longer be sending books to Google for scanning, its local digitization efforts —  and deposit of those scans into HathiTrust — will continue. 

A number of UC San Diego librarians have participated in HathiTrust leadership, and on working groups and committees since HathiTrust was founded. Former Audrey Geisel University Librarian Brian Schottlaender served as the first Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors; current Audrey Geisel University Librarian Erik Mitchell (then at UC Berkeley) and former Associate University Librarian Martha Hruska served on the Program Steering Committee; Elizabeth Miraglia served on the Community Metadata Strategy Taskforce; and Becky Culbertson (who is both a UC San Diego and CDL colleague) serves on the Bibliographic Corrections Team and on the Copyright Review Team. Additionally, UC San Diego was recently a participant in HathiTrust’s pilot Metadata Quality Improvement Program. 

Many other UC San Diego Library colleagues have worked tirelessly on the Google Books Project, including Associate University Librarian Roger Smith; project coordinator Rhonda Fleming-Cortes; and Head, Database and Authorities Management Ryan Finnerty. Their hard work and the many contributions from additional UC San Diego librarians have made the project a huge success: for UC San Diego, for the University of California, for HathiTrust, and for Google Books.

While it represents only the tiniest tip of the iceberg of UC San Diego’s vast collection of digitized materials in HathiTrust, here are the top 12 most heavily used UC San Diego volumes in the last six months. 

UC San Diego’s Top 12 Most Popular Books in HathiTrust

  1. The true prophecies or prognostications of Michael Nostradamus... (1672)
  2. The tragedy of American diplomacy by William Appleman Williams (1962)
  3. Your future in the tea cup (1934)
  4. Red channels: the report of communist influence in radio and television (1950)
  5. Mississippi provincial archives ... French dominion ... Collected, edited, and translated by Dunbar Rowland and A. G. Sanders, vol. 1 (1927)
  6. Your God is too small by J. B. Phillips (1961)
  7. Indian boyhood by Charles Eastman with illus. by E. L. Blumenschein (1902)
  8. A collection of creole recipes (1951)
  9. Greek and Latin in scientific terminology (1959)
  10. The island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells (1896)
  11. Stratigraphy and sedimentation by W. C. Krumbein and L. L. Sloss (1951)
  12. A portrait of the artist as a young man by James Joyce (1916)

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The images in this article were selected by Amy Butros, Liaison Librarian for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, from Explorations: The Centennial Issue (v.10 2003-4) by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.