National Library of the Netherlands discloses its Google Books Contract

After the successful disclosure of the agreement between the British Library and Google Books on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act, the National Library of the Netherlands (KB) also disclosed their agreement with Google Ireland today. Albeit the director of the KB tweeted a day ago that not all public information needed to be available on the Web, it was decided to publish the agreement on the Web since there were two WOB (a Dutch version of FOIA) procedures underway to get insight in the agreement.

Albeit I am not a lawyer, a few thins caught my eye. The agreement is very similar to the agreement between Google and the British Library. Bert Zeeman pondered the idea of standard Google contracts in this respect. This seems to go for the exception of the number of volumes in the public domain that will be digitized, 250,000 in the UK and 160,000 in the Netherlands (clause 2.1).

What struck me as interesting was the use of the libraries digital copies, clause 4.8 “the library may provide all or any portion of the library digital copy… to (a) academic institutions or research or public libraries, ….” But we are not able to “providing search or hosting services substantially similar to those provided by Google, including but not limited to those services substantially similar to Google book search”. I guess that leaves out the other academic libraries in the Netherlands to include these digital copies in their discovery tools. It is tempting, but I see problems on the horizon. We seem to be left with separate information silos whereas integration with the rest of the collection would be really interesting. It becomes more explicit in clause 4.9 where it is stated that “nothing in this agreement restricts the library from allowing Europeana to crawl the standard metadata of the digital copies provided to library by Google.” We would be more interested in the data rather than the metadata.

But then again, it is up to the lawyers to see what’s allowed and what’s not. But then again, again, after fifteen years all restrictions on the use or distribution terminate (clause 4.7), a bit long according to the open rights group. However, we have experience with building academic library collections, it takes ages. Those fifteen years are over in the wink of a young girl’s eye.