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Mass Digitization History

An overview of key milestones in UC’s mass digitization program, as well as the conclusion of the Authors Guild lawsuits against HathiTrust and Google.

Timeline of UC Mass Digitization




  • Microsoft ceases funding book scanning via Internet Archive & OCA
  • Internet Archive’s scanning center at NRLF is de-commissioned and relocated to facility in San Francisco
  • UC is founding member of HathiTrust
  • Parties in Authors Guild Google Lawsuit agree to global class action settlement
  • UC Davis begins scanning volumes via Internet Archive
  • UC San Diego begins sending volumes to Google to scan
  • UC San Santa Cruz begins sending volumes to Google to scan










  • UC San Diego rejoins project
  • Non-book digitization pilot project begins



  • On January 1, the U.S. public domain expands for the first time in 20 years
  • HathiTrust exceeds 17,000,000 volumes
  • UC Santa Barbara begins sending volumes to Google to scan


The Authors Guild Lawsuits

The history of mass digitization at UC is deeply entwined with the litigation between Google and the Authors Guild. Over the course of nearly eleven years, Google had to argue the case for digitizing the collections of research libraries. HathiTrust spent three years fighting a similar lawsuit by the Authors Guild.

On April 18, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Authors Guilds’ appeal of a lawsuit against Google, bringing to a close eleven years of litigation against Google for digitizing the collections of research libraries. By refusing to hear the appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s ruling that Google’s digitization of library collections, the creation of search functionality, display of snippets, and provision of copies to its partner libraries are all non-infringing fair uses. In 2011, the Authors Guild had brought a similar lawsuit against HathiTrust that ended in 2014 with a ruling also upholding the digitization of library collections as a fair use.

The resolution of these cases was a resounding victory for fair use, libraries, scholars, researchers, and the public alike.

Authors Guild Lawsuits Resources