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McGill University Library becomes first Canadian content provider to participate in Digitize on Demand and Kirtasbooks.com

McGill University Library is pleased to announce a partnership with Kirtas Technologies and its Canadian partner Ristech, which will allow students, faculty and the general public to request to have books digitized and made available through the new Digitize on Demand program. The announcement will be made publicly at the Canadian Library Association’s 2009 National Conference and Trade Show being held in Montreal May 29 to June 1.

“It’s an exciting time for the Library as we embark on a new era of services. With this innovative technology we can reveal our collections through user-driven digitization and distribution,” Janine Schmidt, Trenholme Director of Libraries at McGill, said. “The partnership with Kirtas advances the Library’s interest in improving scholarly access to its collections.”

The program will offer books that are difficult to find, because they are generally out of print. They are also in the public domain, meaning that there are no copyright restrictions.

Using existing information from the Library’s catalogue records, Kirtas will make the books available through its retail site, www.kirtasbooks.com. Customers can search for a desired title and place a request to have it digitized. The book is then digitized at very high-quality using Kirtas’s innovative automatic page-turning scanner that was purchased by the Library in 2008. What also makes this approach unique is that the books can be offered before they are ever digitized, so there is no up-front printing, production or storage cost.

Kirtas currently has 12 partnerships with universities and public libraries to make special collections available for sale online, with McGill University the first to participate in Canada. Virtually any library with a modern records database can participate in the Digitize on Demand program. Distribution rights are non-exclusive so the books can also be made available through other distribution channels at a library’s request. McGill University Library will also make a digital copy of each scanned item available through its catalogue.

“McGill was an early adopter in book digitizing, so it’s only fitting that they would be the first Canadian content partner on Kirtasbooks.com,” said Kirtas Founder and CEO Lotfi Belkhir. “Digitize on Demand is a unique and innovative way for libraries to digitize content, and we’re thrilled to have McGill University Library as a partner in this initiative.”

About McGill University
McGill, Canada’s leading university, has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 33,000 students. Since 2000, more than 800 professors have been recruited to McGill to share their energy, ideas and cutting-edge research. McGill attracts students from 160 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,000 francophones – with more than 6,200 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body. www.mcgill.ca

About McGill University Library
The Library provides the comprehensive information infrastructure necessary to sustain leading-edge teaching, learning and research activity at McGill University. It holds more than 6 million items in its various collections, which are located in 13 branches across McGill’s downtown and Macdonald campuses. Receiving over 3.5 million visits annually, or approximately 10,000 a day – and millions more visits online, it is an invaluable support system for all McGill students, with rich collections, comprehensive information resources, innovative services and attractive, comfortable facilities. www.mcgill.ca/library/

About Ristech
Ristech is a leading Canadian Distributor of Automated Digitization Technologies. Founded in 1995 Ristech sells and supports the technologies required to convert books, film and paper to digital images. The primary focus of Ristech is to provide mass digitization solutions to our clients. This is accomplished by offering a combination of Robotic Technologies combined with automated batch conversion software solutions and on-site technical support. www.ristech.ca

About Kirtas Technologies
Kirtas Technologies has pioneered and perfected the technology used today in quality, high-speed, non-destructive mass book digitization. A proven workflow ensuring superior image quality, advanced search capabilities, unique archiving technology, and extensive metadata enabling multiple output options that stand the test of time are what set us apart and keep Kirtas at the forefront of the digital revolution. Learn more at www.kirtas.com

CONTACT:
Allison Flynn
Media Relations
McGill University
(514) 398-7698
[email protected]

Deanna Vincent
Kirtas Technologies
(585) 924-2420
[email protected]

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