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Google Plans to Expand Book-Scanning Partnerships

Marissa Mayer, vice president for search products and user experience at Google, says the company will expand its Book Search project, which has scanned more than a million books in conjunction with several college libraries, among other institutions.

Ms. Mayer talked about the future of the project, and responded to criticisms of it, in a recent Chronicle podcast. Some authors and publishers have sued Google, claiming that the company violates their copyrights, although it does not display the full text of copyrighted works.

The Book Search project will eventually involving scanning more than books, she suggests. "Google's mission is to organize all the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," Ms. Mayer says. "Our CEO likes to stress that when we said "all," we really meant all. So while we might prioritize what order we're doing things in, we really do think it's valuable to digitize and provide all the world's information online." —Jeffrey R. Young

Here is a link to the recording of Meyer's interview (why do people refer to all digital recordings as "podcasts?")

The big new thing here is that Mayer claims that book preservation is a core goal of Google Book Search. I wonder when that came into the mix If preservation is the key here, that raises all kinds of questions over format, access, quality, etc.


Comments (1)

As an archivist, I continue to take issue with Google's position that books should be a higher priority than special collections material. After all, most of the books Google's scanning can be found in multiple libraries. And often multiple copies are at the same library. If you spill a cup of coffee on "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," the library can just by another copy.

Not so with special collections, which are normally considered stronger candidates for digitization because of their scarcity, rarity, and fragility.

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A book in progress by

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Siva Vaidhyanathan

This blog, the result of a collaboration between myself and the Institute for the Future of the Book, is dedicated to exploring the process of writing a critical interpretation of the actions and intentions behind the cultural behemoth that is Google, Inc. The book will answer three key questions: What does the world look like through the lens of Google?; How is Google's ubiquity affecting the production and dissemination of knowledge?; and how has the corporation altered the rules and practices that govern other companies, institutions, and states? [more]

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Like the Mind of God (22 posts)

All the World's Information (26 posts)

What If Big Ads Don't Work (10 posts)

Don't Be Evil (9 posts)

Is Google a Library? (43 posts)

Challenging Big Media (18 posts)

The Dossier (19 posts)

Global Google (3 posts)

Google Earth (3 posts)

A Public Utility? (19 posts)

About this Book (16 posts)

Other books by Siva:


Rewiring the Nation: The Place of Technology in American Studies (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)

The Anarchist in the Library (Basic Books, 2004)

Copyrights and copywrongs cover

Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity (New York University Press, 2001)


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