iConference 2012: The ethical (re)design of the Google Books project

I’m currently in Toronto, Canada for iConference 2012, presented by the iSchools organization, a worldwide collective of 33 Information Schools. The theme of the conference is “Culture-Design-Society”, and I will be presenting a paper titled “The ethical (re)design of the Google Books project”. The paper is available in the ACM digital library; the abstract and copy of my slides are below.

Zimmer, M. (2012). The ethical (re)design of the Google Books project. In iConference ’12 Proceedings of the 2012 iConference, 363-369. DOI: 10.1145/2132176.2132223

Today, the Google Books project is at a relative standstill — lawsuits against the project remain outstanding as the courts rejected a proposed settlement agreement. The failure of the original vision for the Google Books project to become fully realized presents us with a unique opportunity to ensure that whatever final form Google Books will take in the future, it is designed to support the values respected within the domain of information ethics. This paper will proposed an ethical re-design of the Google Books project, focusing on three core ethical values of primary interest to librarian and information professionals: privacy, intellectual freedom, and public access to information. Advocating for these values in the next iteration of the mass digitization service can help ensure that the informational norms of the library are embraced and upheld.


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