Overheard last weekend…

“Google books: books only a computer could love.” The idea being that, well, there are probably more than a few books in our collections that haven’t been checked out by anyone since being acquired. And probably some that have escaped attention all together.

Still, it’s exciting to think about the books being unfettered from the physical libraries, the stacks, the access policies, etc. Accessible to a much wider audience, even the homely may find someone to love them. Or at least books not constrained by copyright….

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4 Comments

  1. I just worry about the privacy issues associated with these activties … do the institutions leading the way on this front share the values traditionally associated with libraries?

  2. Somewhere I’ve seen the interesting thought: “In the future, only the computer will read every word”. My guess is that future is now. You aren’t just liberating books from invisibility on those distant shelves (I still remember the excitement and enchantment reading some of those first “Making of America” books, whose selection criteria included un-accessed for 25 years, page by slooow page), you’re liberating me from having to read lots of unnecessary stuff in order to find the bit I need. Although I suppose I just might lose a bit of context as a result!

  3. “do the institutions leading the way on this front share the values traditionally associated with libraries”

    No, they most definitely do not and the touchy-feely justification that it is somehow good to “give everything to anyone” is only playing into the hands of corporate interest. The public library is being privatized and cultural products which are so-called “out of copyright” will now be “in copyright” of Google and, worse the telecommunications industry. Librarianship has never been about arbitrarily handing anything to anyone just because it might be neat or fun, it is about connecting readers to books for the purpose of education. With digitization, librarians are losing that control, and certain corporations are gaining it… and stock value.

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