Helping Google help Libraries help Google

There has been more discusson about Google on Madisonian.net and Sivacracy.

I do believe that there are actions Google could take to improve perceptions about that particular project. Google could be more transparent in it’s classification and standards process, as Madison points out. I believe that would be a positive step. Google and the libraries could also have a contract that would be better than the existing contract.

Regarding the contract, available from the University of Michigan website, I have a couple of problems. First, I think that Michigan should retain the ability to share the digital objects it receives from Google with the public when the material is in the public domain. Also, I believe that Michigan should be able to continue with lawful activities such as Interlibrary Loan.

The Google Book project should be an addition to library activities in serving patrons, not a substitute to those activities. I know of some librarians that are considering passing on digitization efforts because of Google’s digitization. I believe this rationale is a mistake. Google’s Book project will increase the ability to find books, which is a good thing. However, it is not a substitute for library digitization efforts. Libraries add collection efforts, cataloging and classification standards, preservation, public access, and other services. In my opinion, libraries are better stewards of information than Google can be at this point in time, including librarians’ protection of users’ rights.

I find it interesting that the discussion in these areas has moved away from the copyright concerns. ^_^

[Edit: Typos that I didn’t notice until I read the thing on Sivacracy. Sheesh.]

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