More Opportunities to buy UM Library Books from the HathiTrust

March 12, 2010

by Maria Bonn

On Wednesday, the Scholarly Publishing Office activated more than 225,000 "buy a reprint" links in the HathiTrust, increasing the number of public domain reprints available for purchase by more than 300%. Potential purchasers are now directed to our publishing partner, BookPrep, a service of Hewlett Packard, where they can preview the book prior to ordering. Over time, these books will also become available on (where you can already find tens of thousands of our titles) and through other distribution channels.

For those of you who are confused by the ever increasing avenues to reprints of UM Library books, know that you are not alone. SPO is working on some simple guides and materials to help you and our users understand the choices.

As we have seen throughout our years selling reprints, these books tend to sell in modest numbers (ones and twos) but in the aggregate we see considerable interest in our titles. Last month, a government document, The Sourcebook in Forensic Serology, Immunology, and Biochemistry enjoyed considerable interest, with sales of ten copies, and the 1907 edition of Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book and Household Physician... became a runaway bestseller, selling seventeen copies.

Posted by John Weise at 04:41 PM. Permalink | Comments (0)

PictureIt Rare Book Reader

March 08, 2010

We bring old books to life. See them again for the first time.

by Catherine Soehner

It is my pleasure to announce the public debut of PictureIt Rare Book Reader ( A collaborative effort between several Library units, the product is now available for shared use after 18 months in development.

PictureIt Rare Book Reader

PictureIt is a web-based animation program that gives users the sensation of turning the pages of digitized rare materials that would be otherwise difficult, if not impossible, to view or obtain. Volume 1 of John James Audubon’s Birds of America was selected as the inaugural PictureIt book for a few reasons. Foremost, the eight volume set has special meaning as the first purchase for the Library by the Board of Regents of the University of Michigan. As well, the University of Pittsburgh had already digitized all volumes of the Birds of America set and was willing to share the images with us. And finally, the illustrated plates of this set were intricately completed, making them as much art work as scientific work. Volume 1 of Audubon’s Birds of America was also selected for the first PictureIt book because its complex images demonstrate the product’s embedded magnification tool which allows users to get up-close and view the details of each illustration.

While the Library is excited to share Volume 1 of Audubon’s Birds of America within the University of Michigan community, the scope of the PictureIt project is much larger. The animation programming for PictureIt was designed as a template to allow for the easy and quick insertion of other digitized rare materials. The PictureIt project is also under a Creative Commons License, which will allow others to use and change the programming with proper attribution to the University of Michigan. As a result, we hope many institutions will post their digitized rare materials using PictureIt as a growing collection of primary source materials available for worldwide viewing.

I wish to express my deep gratitude to the many people who participated in bringing PictureIt from idea to finished product, including Lilienne Chan, Peggy Daub, Sara Henry, Karen Jordan, Melissa Levine, Ken Varnum, John Weise, and John Merlin Williams. I also would like to extend a special thanks to Eric Maslowski, who provided the programming skills and the vision of a template for this product.

Update April 2, 2010: Application and Source Now Available

Posted by John Weise at 11:17 AM. Permalink | Comments (8)