Google and its Dominance in my Sources

Gstrein, S., & Muhlberger, G. (2011). Producing eBooks on Demand: A European Library Network. In K. Price, & V. Havergal, eBooks in Libraries: A Practical Guide (pp. 37-52). London: Facet Publishing.

Gstrein and Muhlberger’s section on Producing eBooks on demand was an interesting project where users could request an “ebook on demand”. While this appears to have simply been a scanned version of a book many users found the service to be good, however many 30% felt the price was high for the material. Because many of the users in my target audience are those that like ebooks because of the “instant” nature, it’s interesting to look at a service like this because while you could get an electronic version, it could take quite a while, and unlike traditional ebooks for public libraries, it wasn’t free.

Price, K. (2011). eBooks for Free: Finding, Creating and Managing Freely Available Texts. In K. Price, & V. Havergal, eBooks in Libraries: A Practical Guide (pp. 53-70). London: Facet Publishing.

Price actually manages to bring it all back to Jeanneney by talking about if Google Books would be the ultimate library. She points out the conflict between Google, a for profit company and libraries such as Harvard University Library, New York Public Library, Stanford University Library are working to make their collections available for free. But I think that there’s an upside to all of these different entities doing “the same” work. Each is done with the same intent, to preserve information and to make it available to the masses. And realistically speaking I think that’s the end goal.

Darnton, R. (2009). The Case For Books: Past, Present and Future. New York: PublicAffairs.

One of the things I find interesting about research is the whole, rabbit hole aspect of it. You start out on a specific topic and find yourself immersed in a book about the case for books. I do however think this is relevant because I hear too often when people point out that things are online, so there isn’t a need for printed books or public libraries. I tend to laugh in those people’s faces. Like Jeanneney and Price, Google is brought up and its plans for literary domination are discussed. More than that though, Darnton discusses the copyright case Authors Guild, Inc. vs Google, Inc. However the book was published in 2009 so it doesn’t reflect that the case was dismissed in 2013.

Some More Bibliographic Information

Jeanneney, J.-N. (2007). Google And the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View From Europe. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Jeanneney’s Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View From Europe was an interesting read because while it initially comes across as slightly nationalist, I feel that he does raise some very interesting points. Jeanneney is concerned about Google being a single point depositary for information and knowledge, a concern I’ve seen in my other readings. He worries that English will become the default language that items are stored in digitally and that as a result of that, culture will be lost. Reading about this in conjunction with visiting National Libraries was really eye opening because while they are making a point to reserve books that relate to their national heritage, they are also preserving items of cultural significance. It’s really amazing to think about the cultural impact of things like, London Bridge have on people.

It really made me think more about two topics that keep coming up in my studies, the role of the information professional as a knowledge gatekeeper and trying to determine (as Buckland does so many times) what information is. I completely agree that London Bridge is information, but more than that, the impact that London Bridge has because it exists is also information.

Fleet, C. (2012). New Developments in Acessing and Viewing Online Maps at the National Library of Scotland. International Preservation, 13-19.

This article was great to read after Jeanneney’s Myth of Google because it brings up the importance of multiple sources of collection and curating data. In this article Fleet discusses a collaborative effort between the National Library of Scotland, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, and the National Records of Scotland to create an online portal. This portal uses historical information to display maps similar to those currently used by Google Maps and Yahoo Maps for different periods of time.

It allows for a better user experience and for users to interact with historic geographic maps. The georeferencing of historical maps is HUGE think about it: you’d be able to create a time lapse of a specific street address and see changes to it over years. It allows for “improved retrieval and user interfaces . . . but also better understanding of maps by analyzing their geometrical properties and the ability to compare and overlay with other maps and special data” (Fleet, 2012, p. 15).So this portal allows users to put in an address or location in Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and Belgium and see what has been there at different periods of time.

It’s a great combination of collaboration and cultural history that I think would make Jeanneney proud.