I think this is great news, and in the spirit of libraries. A commercial business person may walk into any library and browse any book. Why should Big-G or M$ get to convert such a freedom of information into their own revenue stream?
I hadn't heard of the Open Content Alliance, but I like them already.
If the open scheme has the backing to get the job done, then that's great.
If it's an excuse to do nothing while the books crumble to dust, not so hot.
The condition cited is simple standard practice (not that librarians would know). After all, no-one invests billions only to see a rival logo on the front of the building.
"Quid Pro Quo"; within reason.
|Libraries Don't Like Restrictions For Online Book Scanning Schemes... |
...and rightly so! I think it is great news that the tremendous information contained in those libraries is not going into one source that itself becomes a monopoly then.
|After all, no-one invests billions only to see a rival logo on the front of the building. |
They market themselves like a benevolent association trying to do "good"...and not be evil.
Obviously, you're right about their real intentions. Good for the librarians turning them down. Too bad not everyone was smart enough to say no.
|The condition cited is simple standard practice (not that librarians would know). |
And that it's "standard practice" is a good reason to go along with it?
Thank goodness for the "ignorant" librarians!
Google, don't mess with the librarians!
Google scans the books for free. Libraries have to PAY OCA to scan their books. Makes their stand that much more interesting:
|Libraries that sign with the Open Content Alliance are obligated to pay the cost of scanning the books. Several have received grants from organizations like the Sloan Foundation. |
On the other hand, Google requires the libraries to block competitors themselves:
|“Google had a very restrictive agreement, and in all our discussions they were unwilling to yield,” he said. Among the terms was a requirement that libraries put their own technology in place to block commercial search services other than Google, he said. |
Getting libraries to agree to block access to their content? That's evil.
Seems pretty simple to me. Libraries and library consortiums can get free scanning in exchange for a quid pro quo, or they can spend $30 per volume to do the scanning themselves.
The schemes offered by Google and Microsoft give libraries new choices that they can accept or reject, as they see fit.
Quadrille has a good point. Let's hope this isn't just libraries trying to avoid getting their books unscanned.
Where does the copyrights of the book authors fit into this? Sorry if the point is academic.
In most cases, it's about works that are out of copyright.
Google has the cash to fund this stuff. In the name of Do No Evil, why not just donate cash to the libraries and the Open Content Aliance so everyone can benefit from the work? It would be a drop in the bucket even for that foundation they setup to do good stuff.
Someone needs to stand up and prevent the privatization of public assets.
|why not just donate cash to the libraries and the Open Content Aliance so everyone can benefit from the work? |
An excellent point.
The fact that Google and Microsoft aren't doing that shows that their motives aren't as altruistic as they pretend.
[edited by: callivert at 1:51 am (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
In most cases the books in a library have been paid for by tax payers or charitable donations; directly or indirectly. I think that recognising that it is entirely correct that a library keeps the 'open access' nature of their work in the digital age.
|The fact that Google and Microsoft aren't doing that shows that their motives aren't as altruistic as they pretend. |
Are they pretending that their motives are 100% altruistic? That doesn't appear to be the case.
In any event, no one is forcing the libraries to accept a gift that has strings attached. The libraries need to examine their priorities and weigh the value of the gift against the cost of the attached strings. It's a bit like the issue of selling naming rights for a university football stadium: The decision may not be easy, but choice is better than no choice.
|After all, no-one invests billions only to see... |
Actually if your mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible" then that's exactly what you do.
Seems like a major lapse in judgement on their part. You'd think they would get behind something like the OCA and then do a better job of implementing search on top of it.
|Are they pretending that their motives are 100% altruistic? |
No, but they produce a lot of high-sounding, public-interest rhetoric that is misleading. Their true goal is not to "organize the world's information" blah blah blah. It is to become the world leader in data brokerage. The best way to do that is get a monopoly on large, valuable data sources.
This behind the play for libraries. Each individual book, on average, may be of small value, but the sheer volume means that the total amount of material is of very high value. It is certainly a prize worth pursuing.
Google figures, if you make the project sound noble enough, maybe the libraries will transfer these public assets into private corporate control. It's also a matter of how it's done. Google exerts soft control- they don't explicitly claim to own the material (that would be wrong). They just happen to create a set of conditions where they are the only ones with ready access to it.
Part of the thrill of the hunt, for Google, is that they are doing things- and planning things- that nobody has thought of before, because nobody has had the tools to do it. Universal health records? Instant access to the contents of the world's major libraries? Heady stuff. They have a mission, and they are moving at lightning speed.
It is a new industry, a new world of data brokerage.
They have the ability to disseminate information in a more efficient, more productive way than ever before, but it comes at a price: they need to own the data. Right now, other people own it. In the case of the libraries, that would be the public.
Google's goal is to wrest control of data from whoever owns it now, so that they can apply their magic algorithms and deliver it as a service around the world. They figure they can make better use of it than the current owners. They can certainly make more money off it. So they want it.
Google's major problem is -and always was- that they do have very little content of their own. After all, they are currently living off other's content (the Web). But they need to plan for a time where their search domination will vanish.
So they tried early to change that with aquisitions or new services that so far did not bring the desired results (monopolistic world domination of information): e.g. Dejanews, Keyhole/Google Maps, GMail.
They are trying to change this by just aquiring the libraries' content. This, they figure, will give them -over time- monopolistic access to valuable content. No ads on book pages? This may be true today, but who knows what will be in five years time? Do we know which evil plans are floating around at The Plex?
It's good that some libraries stand up against this practice, even if it sounds so much more unattractive to work with the OCA.
|Google's major problem is -and always was- that they do have very little content of their own. After all, they are currently living off other's content |
Are you sure you aren't talking about libraries? :-)
Libraries don't profit from re-branding other people's content and inserting advertising. In the case of web sites this is generally a symbiotic relationship with the owner, but books?