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Several major research libraries have rebuffed offers from Google and Microsoft to scan their books into computer databases, saying they are put off by restrictions these companies want to place on the new digital collections.
The research libraries, including a large consortium in the Boston area, are instead signing on with the Open Content Alliance, a nonprofit effort aimed at making their materials broadly available.
Libraries that agree to work with Google must agree to a set of terms, which include making the material unavailable to other commercial search services. Microsoft places a similar restriction on the books it converts to electronic form. The Open Content Alliance, by contrast, is making the material available to any search service.
I hadn't heard of the Open Content Alliance, but I like them already.
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.
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.
The schemes offered by Google and Microsoft give libraries new choices that they can accept or reject, as they see fit.
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?
[edited by: callivert at 1:51 am (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
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?
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.