Mass Digitization and the Google Monopoly

February 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm 2 comments

monopolyA fascinating discussion has begun regarding the Google settlement to digitize mass volumes of books.  As you know, I’ve already stepped onto my soapbox MANY times in regards to this issue.  Robert Darnton published an essay on the topic which has received much press, but I believe that Paul Courant’s response is even more impressive.  Let’s face it, Google’s settlement is not ideal.  However, without fundamental policy put into place, how else are we supposed to cope?  Information should be free for all, but idealism is not reality. 

I constantly argue with my cubemate about the “evil empire”.  Google, Microsoft, Intel?…  Take your pick!  Each is flawed.  But isn’t trying to do something, better than doing nothing, especially when the system is so egregiously flawed?  We want to consume information. We need to consume information (think broad NLP implications here). We should have access to information. My 2 cents. Again.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark  |  February 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    I was curious to see a court verdict. If Google won, things would have been much more ideal. But as Courant points out, there’s no reason to believe that would have happened. The settlement is a better option than a Google loss (at least it seems so to me).

    Reply
    • 2. jeansong  |  February 12, 2009 at 4:38 am

      I agree that the settlement is better than a loss. We can never know what “could have” been, but what I know of the settlement would suggest that we will be gaining access to a lot of information. I understand that people are concerned about “laying with the devil”, but we’ve had this long to make a difference (we – being the royal we – like libraries), and we haven’t done anything significant. Could we do better? Maybe. Isn’t something better than nothing at this point?

      Reply

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