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Yale University Library Mass Digitization Project

As of 7/1/2009 this project has finished. This page is for historical purposes and informational purposes only. A final report will be available later in 2009.

Yale University Library and Microsoft have entered into an agreement to digitize 100,000 books from Yale's collections in 2008. The books, when digitized, will appear on Microsoft's Live Books search as fully searchable digital versions of the original and linked from Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog.

This project will enable the library to experiment with providing access and preserving a large amount of digital material and to learn more about the best ways to make it available to the public.  Our readers increasingly demand digital materials and are themselves experimenting with new ways of teaching, of researching and new kinds of scholarship in the digital age.

The initial selection criteria for books chosen will be those in English, published before 1923, and thus part of the public domain and free from copyright restrictions. Yale and Microsoft will work together to identify which of the approximately 13 million volumes held by Yale's 22 libraries will be digitized. Currently, selected books will be in the subject areas of  Art and Art History, History, Religion, and Travel. Most are coming from Sterling Memorial Library, Mudd Library, and the Library Shelving Facility as well as from the British Art Center library.

The project will maintain rigorous standards established by the Yale Library and Microsoft for the quality and usability of the digital content, and for the safe and careful handling of the physical books. Books selected for digitization will remain available for use by students and researchers in their physical form and are able to be recalled when sent for digitization. Digital copies of the books will also be preserved by the Yale Library for use in future academic initiatives and in collaborative scholarly ventures.

The books are being digitized by Kirtas Technologies, which is opening a facility in Wallingford, CT.

Press release

Yale Daily News article

Frequently Asked Questions About the Mass Digitization Project

Documentation (internal to Yale only)

Mass Digitization Technical Site (maintained by ILTS)


Jennifer Weintraub, Digitization Project Manager
Mary Ellen Budney, Digitization Project Supervisor
Cha Chi Hung
Iris Papaemmanouil
Charmaine Rohde
Thomas Saul

Project Groups:

Selection Group

Ingest Group

Workflow Group: (Minutes of meetings)

Quality Control Subgroup:
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© 2009 Yale University Library
This file last modified 06/24/09