This March, the UC Riverside Library sent its final shipment of 6,016 volumes to be digitized by the Google Books Library Project. The shipment, the library’s largest ever, filled an entire Google truck with Riverside student theses and dissertations. Eight years earlier, in January 2016, the UC Riverside Library sent its first shipment of 1,213 volumes. In total, over those eight years, the UC Riverside Library sent 166,025 volumes for Google digitization. Once digitized, these books are deposited into the HathiTrust Digital Library and Google Books where they are available for public access (if they are public domain) or discovery via search (if they are in copyright). 

Among the 166K volumes UC Riverside contributed to the project are 40,000 titles from UC Riverside’s Water Resources Collection & Archives. There are also 34,000 federal government documents, sent as part of UC Libraries Federal Document Archive (FedDocArc) initiative. In addition to sending monographs as part of FedDocArc, UC Riverside was the only UC library to send serials as part of the FedDocArc project. 

From 2018 through early 2020, the UC Riverside Library graciously served as a hub for the southern UC campuses participating in the Google Books Library Project. Due to space constraints and other factors, shipments of books from UC San Diego and UCLA were sent to Riverside to combine with their own books for shipment to the Google scan center. (The loaded carts required extensive storage space which the Riverside Library had available at the time.) Serving as a hub required the small, yet mighty, Riverside team to organize operations, and to be on site for arrivals of the Google truck and SRLF van, which shuttled the carts between the UC campuses. The hub service provided by the UC Riverside Library allowed both UC San Diego and UCLA libraries to continue participating and to contribute more books to the project. Serving as a hub created lots of additional work for UC Riverside’s team, but they shouldered it with enthusiasm. 

For UC Riverside University Librarian Steve Mandeville-Gamble, this work represents the key role his campus has played in supporting the UC Libraries’ engagement with Google: “The UCR Library is delighted to have been able to serve as a key logistics node in the University of California’s Google Books project, in addition to contributing a significant amount of content.”  Mandeville-Gamble is dedicated to the success of HathiTrust and to the digitization of UC library volumes via the Google Library Project, as demonstrated by his recent appointment to the HathiTrust’s Board of Governors. He champions the benefits of library digitization and collaboration: “Working together, we have helped to make large swaths of the printed corpus of governmental publications available to researchers’ electronic desktops, helping to democratize governmental data.” He also praises the UC Libraries’ collective contributions to HathiTrust: “This initiative underscores the power of the 10 UC Libraries and the California Digital Library working together. Together we can accomplish things we could not do alone, and no member library is too small to have a major impact nor too large to not be able to benefit from working with the others.”

Eight years is a long time, and retirements and staff turnover during the project’s lifespan have not been uncommon. Dozens of UC Riverside Library colleagues and student employees have contributed to making the project a success along the way, most notably: University Librarian, Steve Mandeville-Gamble; Collection Maintenance Manager, Shelly Gipson; and Head of Facilities, Dave Schuster, who were all there from start to finish, and the project benefited substantially from their support and dedication. Tiffany Moxham, Associate University Librarian for Content and Discovery & Deputy University Librarian, and Collection Logistics Coordinator, Gregory Megee were also essential to the project’s success, as were the now retired Vincent Novoa, Head of Access Services, and Jim Clark, Head of the Database Management and Authority Control.

It has been a pleasure working with our UC Riverside Library colleagues on this project. Their readiness to say yes when asked to do more, despite the many priorities they were juggling, is laudable and has benefitted all of UC, HathiTrust, and the reading and research world. 

Photos courtesy of University of California Riverside Archives.