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To book search or not to book search?

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

Tracey Caldwell has a very nice article over on Information Week covering recent comments by Michael Gorman, head of the American Library Association at the Online Information Conference  in London. Basically he totally dissed the digitisation of books by search engines such as Google claiming it was a waste of money, commenting that many of the books were little used. 

I completely disagree with him and it seemed so did many leading Librarians from around the world. While I can see the argument against book search in terms of current copyrighted materials and the impact on sales for authors and publishers, for older texts, being able to make them available to the world at large so that more than a few scholarly individuals can find out if there really is anything interesting in them is a noble cause, and if anything should result in a massive resurgence in interest in old literature - a win win for the libraries.

Also the article has a comment from Google about how searching books was a complicated technical challenge for them, because books don't contain links, so Google search in the classic Internet sense of the word wouldn't work. 


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