Google has engaged in a major initiative to add major library collections to the Internet.

As part of its Google Print scheme, the search giant is working with Oxford University, the University of Michigan, Harvard and the New York Public Library to digitally scan those collections so they can be found and searched through using Google.

Digitized collections include rare and out-of-print titles. Google claims its mission is: "To organize the world's information to make it universally accessible and useful."

Google co-founder and president Larry Page said: "Even before we started Google, we dreamed of making the incredible breadth of information that librarians so lovingly organize searchable online."

Reg Carr, director of Oxford University Library services, said: "Making the wealth of knowledge accumulated in the Bodleian Library’s historic collections accessible to as many people as possible is at the heart of Oxford University’s commitment to lifelong learning. Oxford is therefore proud to be part of this effort to make information available to everyone who might benefit from it.

"The Bodleian’s 19th century collections, which include many out-of-print titles which otherwise would be incredibly hard to find, will be scanned as part of the Google Print programme. We hope that Oxford’s contribution to this project will be of scholarly use, as well as general interest, to people around the world,” said Carr.