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Comparing Hathitrust and Google Books as repositories of government documents

Here are 2 recent items analyzing Hathitrust and Google books for their efficacy in giving access to Federal government documents. The first is an article by Laura Sare (Texas A&M) and compares Hathitrust with Google Books. The second is a presentation by Brian Vetruba (Washington U in St Louis) at “Leveraging Your Strengths: Regional Government Documents Conference” at the Federal Reserve Bank St. Louis on May 4, 2012.

A Comparison of HathiTrust and Google Books Using Federal Publications. Laura Sare. Practical Academic Librarianship: The International Journal of the SLA Academic Division. 2(1) 2012 p. 1-25. (attached below. Fair use claim)

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1 Comment

  1. bklein says:

    Sare’s “Comparison of HathiTrust and Google Books Using Federal Publications” found that HathiTrust provides the full-text of 75% of the federal government documents in their collection. In contrast, Google provides full-text for only a few federal documents.

    Copyright is a factor in this difference. Google’s treats all works published after 1923 as in-copyright until it determines that display is permitted under the law or by the copyright owner.

    Many government documents in the HathiTrust Digital Library are from institutions that participate in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government Printing Office (GPO).[ http://www.fdlp.gov/home/repository/doc_view/534-sample-mou-content-partnership- and in compliance with the “Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program” [http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo9182].

    While the majority of the documents in the FDLP collection are “works of the U.S. Government” excluded from copyright protection, the collection also includes copyright protected materials for which the U.S. Government has permission or a license. The license permits the Government to “use, modify, reproduce, release, perform, display, or disclose this data within the Government without restriction; and release or disclose the data outside the Government and authorize persons to whom release or disclosure has been made to use, modify, reproduce, release, perform, display, or disclose the material for United States government purposes.”

    The Government’s license does not automatically transfer to the public (which includes Google) and all third party use is subject to Government authorization. In accordance with public law (Title 44 USC Section 1912), GPO has the authority to transfer Government data rights in government copyrighted materials it provides to institutions that participate in the FDLP.

    ? FDLP institutions under a transfer of license may “use, modify, reproduce, release, perform, display, or disclose copyrighted data on behalf of the Government” in accordance with the GPO agreement.

    ? FDLP institutions do not have the authority to transfer data rights to others for in-copyright Government documents. Nor do they have the authority or right to enter into agreements with third-parties that contradict or alter the terms of their FDLP agreement.

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