A representative from Google shared information about Google Print’s endeavors at Harvard. Her slides before an audience of about 200 were labeled Google Confidential. Therefore, I’m going to err on the side of caution and not blog the gorey details many of you want to read. I’m not sure how she can reasonably expect confidentiality from an audience of about 200 without expressly outlining those expectations at the beginning. Perhaps another blogger in the audience won’t be as cautious as I am.
Sidney Verba, Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library, addressed the audience after the Google presentation in order to highlight some of the benefits of the project, including increasing access to books that are valuable, but often ignored. He implied this project is a big step forward in how people search for books.
Dale Flecker, Associate Director of the Harvard University Library for Planning and Systems, summarized the project details.
The idea of being able to see snippets of a book online to decide whether it’s something I want to borrow from a library appeals to me. That would have helped me select materials for several research projects, espeically materials my local libraries didn’t own. I paid to get something through interlibrary loan once only to discover it really wasn’t going to be useful to my work at all. Had I seen snippets of it, I might have been able to determine it wouldn’t be worth requesting.
Eli provides details about a similar talk at Stanford.
(I wasn’t the only one in the room making notes on a laptop. I had mine out before the meeting began and before people sat next to me as a warning that I was going to type during the talk. A librarian near me knitted.)
Addenda: The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on some criticism of Google’s digital library intiative from the head of the National Library of France. He is concerned the project will have a very American perspective because the material is coming from American libraries. He encourages European libraries to begin digital projects to compete with Google. His library already has an extensive digital collection with tens of thousands of works and images. More: permanent URL for subscribers and temporary URL for nonsubscribers
2/25: Reuters is also reporting Jean-Noel Jeanneney’s desire for a multi-national digital library.
Steve Johnson overviews Google’s digitization project in the Chicago Tribune.
Addendum 4/4: More articles about Google Print:
- Harvard Libraries and Google announce pilot digitization project with potential benefits to scholars worldwide in the Harvard University Gazette (the faculty and staff newspaper)
- Harvard-Google Project Faces Copyright Woes from The Crimson (a Harvard University student newspaper)
- The Google Open Meeting via News and Notes (a newsletter about Harvard’s libraries and librarians)