Northwestern University Library (NUL) uses a Kirtas automated book scanner and the services of external vendors to reformat brittle books, digitize special collections, and fulfill targeted patron digitization requests. Prior to 2007, however, the Library lacked a mechanism for making digital book facsimiles available online. In fall 2007, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded NUL a one-year grant to develop software to gather page scans, apply book structure, prepare OCR and JPEG2000 derivatives, generate technical and preservation metadata, submit these book objects to a Fedora repository, and present a public book viewer with both page turning and search capabilities.
The public book viewing site, Northwestern Books (books.northwestern.edu), became available in beta preview on April 6, 2009. The software developed through the Mellon-funded Mounting Books project is now available as open source via SourceForge.net (summer 2009).