It’s good to see the intellectual ferment whipped up around the Google Book Search settlement particularly as we approach the September 4th “opting out” deadline for publishers and authors.
However, as a sometimes Google watcher, a few observations:
- Google is still the most popular web search engine with almost 70% of web search going through its main search tools (it is also, the richest & most powerful multi-national company in the world)
- Google Book Search is set to become the largest online bookstore ever conceived (little wonder that Amazon is opposed to it)
- As archivists and librarians, how do we feel about this project?
- Don’t we have a role to play in advocating for free and open access to this content based on suitable preservation and descriptive standards? (The metadata in Book Search is a disaster as this article details.)
- Isn’t this poor stewardship of the corpus of scholarship that our researchers and students need to do their work???
- In the monograph “Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe” by Jean-Nol Jeanneney, President of the Bibliothque nationale de France …..former Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Ian Wilson, says some important things about the project.
- However, even though the French were deeply opposed to the Google project, even the BNF see Gallica has changed its tune:
Perhaps, at this point, resistance is futile.