Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Google Print Bibliography

Charles Bailey Jr. has published a bibliography on the Google Print controversy on his DigitalKoans site.

The bibliography includes "selected English-language electronic works about Google Print that are freely available on the Internet. It has a special focus on the legal issues associated with this project."

For more on the controversy, see my earlier postings:

In addition, for those of you who read French, there is an upcoming article in La documentation française by Université de Montréal LIS professor Jean-Michel Salaün entitled
Bibliothèques numériques et Google-Print (Digital Libraries and Google Print). The article provides a lot of the context surrounding large-scale digitization projects and outlines the sources of opposition to Google Print: Europe, publishers and authors.

Salaün writes that whichever side one takes, the controversy has had many positive effects.

Among other things, the Google Print debate has drawn the attention of investors, creators, cultural institutions and public authorities to the complex cultural and commercial challenges of digitizing print materials. As well, what was once a highly technical discussion for a select group of professional experts has suddenly become an international topic of discussion related to cultural promotion and industrial policy, expecially in Europe.

And, as Salaün points out, the discussion has rapidly grown beyond the digitization of just books - which is how things tend to get presented in the media - as European participants in the debate insist loudly on what they see as the much more pressing need to digitally preserve the world's audiovisual heritage whose technological supports are deteriorating.

Finally, of course, the entire Google Print controversy can be read as another instalment in the ongoing wars over control of intellectual property and the widening or narrowing of the public domain: are new technical platforms and projects simply an additional source of private profit for already massive conglomerates? Should the indexes that give access to the world's cultural patrimony be privatized? Or should digitization be subject to some form of democratic control? Salaün concludes: "Does the building of a library on a world scale favour a dominant culture that will be more represented and cited, or on the contrary does it favour minority cultures that never had such a promotional tool? Is it an instrument of conformism or a spur to curiosity?"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:51 pm


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