Thursday, October 15, 2009

Google Books Is Not a Library

Professor Pamela Samuelson has responded to Sergey Brin's op-ed in the New York Times last week claiming
the Google book project was a digital library of Alexandria.
"A digital library containing all the world's knowledge is a laudable goal; just ask Brewster Kahle, who established the Internet Archive in 1996, years before Google was founded, and who has worked tirelessly to create it as a non-profit true digital library.

Unlike the Alexandria library or modern public libraries, the Google Book Search (GBS) initiative is a commercial venture that aims to monetize millions of out-of-print books, many of which are "orphans," that is, books whose rights holders cannot readily be found after a diligent search...

Google is now pressing university partners to accept ads even for the institutional subscriptions. Anyone aspiring to create a modern equivalent of the Alexandrian library would not have designed it to transform research libraries into shopping malls, but that is just what Google will be doing if the GBS deal is approved as is."

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