Google Books

This is my first (and therefore off the cuff and unresearched) attempt to discuss Google Books. I attended a summary of the settlements and issues relevant to our institution today.  One librarian presented the history of the settlements and issues related to the for and against the project.  Another librarian presented to pros and cons of the Google Books search itself.  “So, she asked, do we jump on this bandwagon?”  The bandwagon being the subscription model for access to what ever will eventually be allowed through Google Books.  But my question is this — did we not just dig our own grave (or allow the authors and publishers to dig the libraries’ grave) by not jumping on the bandwagon from the beginning when it was free!?  Wasn’t that the original idea.  That Google would “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and we would all benefit for free…or at least subsidized by advertising?  But then a big stink was made that resulted in complicated matrices of how to distribute the profit and the rights and in order for it all to work out with that in mind its going to have to be a subscription service. For real?

I don’t understand why we weren’t fighting (maybe we were, again no research here) from the beginning the same fight we fought for e-reserves.  We fought the fair use point for the digitization of course reserves and faced many of these very issues, how to determine rights, what was public domain and how to address orphan works, how much could be digitized and variation like restrictions for using anthologies as opposed to the original work, and of course, how to pay for it and the ROI.  So what happened?  Well,  I know what happened to e-reserves at my institution and as such I have lost touch with the national trend.

If I learned anything today it was at least that I want to learn more.  And that’s what its all about, eh?  Hokey pokey!

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