Some libraries reject Google’s offer to digitize book collections

On October 22, The New York Times ran a front page article about several large research libraries’ rejection of Google’s offer to scan and digitize large portions of their collections. The Boston Public Library, University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts are among several of New England’s largest libraries to refuse the offer.

Instead, many of these libraries are working with an organization called Open Content Alliance to make “…the material available to any search service…”, and not just limited to Google, who forbids libraries to make their collections available to other commercial search services when Google scans the materials.

Is this a mistake? Does it matter who is providing the service as long as patrons (aka students, faculty, staff) get the material they need? Or, as the refusing libraries counter, does this provide an alternative to Google and ensure that material is openly available and access is unhindered by corporate restrictions set by one search service?

Give us your thoughts and post a comment.

About Bonnie J. M. Swoger
Science Librarian at SUNY Geneseo, a small, public liberal arts college. I am interested in scientific communication in general and how we teach students about how scientists share information.

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