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Campus Currents May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Scripps Goes Google

Approximately 100,000 books, journals and scientific expedition reports from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library are now accessible on the Internet, thanks to a partnership between Google and the University of California’s Digital Library.

“The Google digitization effort is a tremendous boon for scholars, students and members of the public,” says Brian E. C. Schottlaender, the Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UC San Diego. “It is paving the way for much greater scholarly and public access to a wealth of rare and significant materials.”

In 2008, UC San Diego became the first Southern California university to partner with Google in its digitization efforts, and materials have been digitized from Scripps Library, as well as the International Relations & Pacific Studies Library and the East Asian Language Collection. To date, more than 2 million books from UC libraries have been digitized.
 
“While these books and other materials have long been available on our library shelves for individual use,” says Peter Brueggeman, director of the Scripps Oceanography Library, “Google Books’ in-depth, cross-collection, searching feature is definitely a game-changer for scholarly research.”

The Scripps Library’s scientific expedition reports, which laid the foundation for modern oceanography, date back to the 1700s. From the perspective of Scripps researcher Lisa Levin, Ph.D. ’82, the digitization of the early reports is both invaluable to scholars and allows students and historians to better understand the evolution of modern ideas.

“Scientists in those days made some extremely astute observations,” says Levin, a biological oceanographer at Scripps Oceanography. “Most have been lost to the scientific community simply because the documents reporting them have not been accessible.  Those early observations take on greater significance as environments change and species disappear due to climate change, pollution, habitat degradation, overfishing and species invasions. They may hold the key to understanding conditions and ecosystems of the past, which will help us in coming to grips with the future.” 

Search Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library at Google Books

—Dolores Davies