On Google Library

The discussion over Google Library continues to be intriguing. Is it a scholars dream come true or a nightmare of selling out to corporate? This week Paul Courant, Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan, wades into the fray with a posting on his new blog. Titled “On Being in Bed With Google” he addresses the question are libraries abdicating “their responsibilities as custodians of the world’s knowledge?” As a library that has partnered with Google to digitize 7 million volumes over the next six years, his answer is absolutely not.
Once scanned, the books themselves, along with a digital copy, are returned to the library for library control. Google brings the resources and support to the project that make it possible. Students are, and will continue, to look to electronic sources for their research and UMich sees this project as a way to enhance what it can provide. Granted, the quality at the moment is not as good as it could be.
He concludes that “the solution of these problems will require the serious engagement of academic libraries, and that the visibility of the problems is essential to their solution. . . we are learning a lot as we go long. We are learning in the tradition of serious academic work, by putting our ideas and our resources in the public eye, where they can be seen, and criticized, and improved.”

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