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Old 09-26-2009, 10:56 AM   #1
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WIRED: Google Books vs Libraries

This may have already been covered, but I couldn't find any reference to it. An interesting article on the Wired magazine web site by a researcher, contrasting using Google Books to do research vrs using traditional libraries:
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/...-google-books/

An excerpt from the article:
Quote:
I’m a science writer at Wired.com, but I’m also working on a book about the history of (what we now call) green technology. My book puts a topic front and center that has been hidden in the footnotes of the American energy story. And without Google Books, I’m not sure it would have been possible to write it. At the very least, my contribution to the book world would have been smaller and shallower.

The searchability, accessibility and breadth of the Google Books collection do not just portend some future best-ever digital library. It’s already the best resource for research that exists.
And he goes on to chronicle his experiences trying to track down arcance references in libraries vrs on Google Books.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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Glad to see that brought up, and would like more articles like it to be written.

While the GSA had some serious problems, Googlebooks is a *terrific* resource, and I'd very much like it to continue. Would just like Google to take into account the needs of groups of authors who don't write mainstream novels and pop nonfic (academic authors, graphic novelists, songwriters, and poets all come to mind), and avoid establishing a new copyright monopoly for themselves. (Not even 'cos I think they'd be evil about it. Partially because I want them to get an agreement, and violating federal anti-trust laws won't do it, and partially because I do want competing tiny niche libraries to show up, and they won't if Google's terms are too all-encompassing.)

I occasionally wonder if Google will ever start scanning legal documents--while many recent and landmark case rulings are available online, the other filings sometimes aren't, and all court docs are public domain in the US. Google could potentially have the largest library of legal documents on the planet.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:58 PM   #3
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Google are the best in the world at indexing information, they would definitely have the systems and people to make Google books a pretty incredible tool.

We have to remember, Google's goal "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". (http://www.google.com/corporate/)

They want to make everything available, including books, magazines, newspapers, legal documents. Basically they want to have everything available, and have the funds to fight the copyright battle vs over zealous publishers, so it should be an interesting few years.
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Old 09-27-2009, 02:26 AM   #4
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Legal docs, they could start now--they're all public domain in the US; no publishers to fight. But there are several legal sites with good archives, sorted with metadata that Google would have to painstakingly re-create, and it may take them quite a while to decide it's worth the effort.

I'm looking forward to Draft 2 of the settlement agreement. I think it was mostly fine for mainstream authors; it just completely ignored the needs & interests of several categories of authors who aren't the kind that the the Authors Guild & the Association of American Publishers deal with much.
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