Michigan State University has announced that it's part of a twelve-university consortium of Midwest institutions set to join Google Books. "The agreement between Google and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) will help preserve and stabilize the libraries’ legacy collections, as well as provide broader and more in-depth access to historically significant print resources," notes an MSU press release.
The areas at Michigan State being considered for digitization are its 100,000-volume agriculture collection; 3,000 serials and 1,400 monographs from the Turfgrass Information Center; the Africana collection (ranked in the top five within the U.S.); 45,000 volumes from the collection of Canadiana; and - most interestingly - the 150,000-volume Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection, consisting of "comic art; popular fiction including dime novels, story magazines, pulps, juvenile series books, detective fiction, mystery fiction, science fiction, western fiction and women's/romance fiction; popular information materials including almanacs and etiquette manuals; and print materials relating to the popular performing arts."
The Committee on Institutional Cooperation is the "academic arm" of the Big Ten athletic conference, and also includes the Universities of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and the University of Chicago.
The South Bend Tribune has a little bit more on the agreement today, and notes something very important about this particular agreement. The CIC "also will create what it said was a first-of-its-kind online repository to collectively archive and manage the full content of public domain works scanned by Google within the schools' libraries." Now that's an excellent idea.