A Risky Gamble With Google

Siva Vaidhyanathan’s article on the Google Library project in the Chronicle of Higher Education is well worth a read:

“A Risky Gamble with Google”

I have to confess, I am thrilled and dazzled by the potential of such a machine and the research and distribution opportunities it presents. I sincerely wish every Internet user had access to a full-text search of every book in the Google libraries.

But, as we all know, we should be careful what we wish for. This particular project, I fear, opens up more problems than it solves. It will certainly fail to live up to its utopian promise. And it dangerously elevates Google’s role and responsibility as the steward — with no accountability — of our information ecosystem. That’s why I, an avowed open-source, open-access advocate, have serious reservations about it.

It pains me to declare this: Google’s Library Project is a risky deal for libraries, researchers, academics, and the public in general. However, it’s actually not a bad deal for publishers and authors, despite their protestations.

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