updated 6/6/2007 2:06:44 PM ET 2007-06-06T18:06:44

Twelve major universities will digitize select collections in each of their libraries — up to 10 million volumes — as part of Google Inc.'s book-scanning project. The goal: a shared digital repository that faculty, students and the public can access quickly.

The partnership involves the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which includes the University of Chicago and the 11 universities in the Big Ten athletic conference (yes, there are 11): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

"We have a collective ambition to share resources and work together to preserve the world's printed treasures," said Northwestern Provost Lawrence Dumas.

The committee said Google will scan and index materials "in a manner consistent with copyright law." Google generally makes available the full text of books in the public domain and limited portions of copyrighted books.

Several other universities, including Harvard and California, already have signed up to let Google scan their libraries. But Google still faces a lawsuit by the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild over its plans to incorporate parts of copyrighted books.

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