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Georgia State in Publishers Weekly: Tom Allen of the AAP vs. Moi

A few weeks ago Publishers Weekly published an adaptation of my June 9 blog post on the Georgia State trial on their “Soapbox” page.  This week’s issue of PW contains a reply by Tom Allen, President of the Association of American Publishers. Perhaps not surprisingly, Mr. Allen and I do a good deal of talking […]

Benefits, Costs, and Googleization: A Comment on Siva Vaidhyanathan

In a recent issue of Publisher’s Weekly.com, my friend Siva Vaidhyanathan characterized my support of the Google Books Project in ways that I must take issue with.  (He also said many things that are  insightful, wise and witty, and the whole interview is worth reading.) Here’s the part that motivates this post: PW: But Michigan […]

A National Digital Library?

My friend and colleague Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library, has lately been championing the creation of a National Digital Library (for background, see this, and this), and I wholeheartedly support any plan that coordinates the efforts of our nation’s foundations and research and cultural institutions toward providing ubiquitous and permanent digital access […]

The Card Catalog and Biblical Plagues

After extended deliberation and over twenty years after its official retirement, the University of Michigan Library decided recently to divest itself of the old card catalog — 108 cases containing over 12 million cards. The story was fairly widely covered, with a piece in the official University Record and another in the local digital newspaper, […]

Digitization and accessibility

From the very beginning, one of the most exciting possibilities of the Google Digitization Project was its potential to open up vast stores of text to a group of users to whom it had previously been inaccessible: people with visual impairments and print disabilities. Before Google (B.G.), students and scholars who wanted access to the […]

The Economist and the librarian-economist on the Google settlement

The current issue of The Economist has a leader supporting the Google settlement and an article in the business section that quotes me in the course of discussing the issue. I am described, with my enthusiastic consent, as running an orphanage. The more I think of it the better the orphan metaphor works. Orphan works […]

Orphan Works Legislation and the Google Settlement

I spent Friday at a fascinating conference at the Columbia University Law School, on the subject of (what else?) the Google settlement. Lead counsel from all three parties, lots of other lawyers, several princpals, publishers, authors and librarians were there. I learned something important that at some level I already knew. The most important single […]

Google, Robert Darnton, and the Digital Republic of Letters

Robert Darnton recently published an essay in the New York Review of Books on the Google settlement. There has been much commentary in blogs, listserves, and print media. Below I reproduce a letter that I sent to the New York Review of Books, that they found to be far too long to publish. It is […]

The Google Settlement – From the Universal Library to the Universal Bookstore

If you think about it, a universal bookstore is a pretty cool idea. Bookstores are wonderful things. Anyone can walk into bookstore, take a book off a shelf, read in it, decide whether to buy it or forget about it, or get it from the library. The settlement announced today by Google, the Association of […]

“Less than perfect” is not always bad

In a recent paper prepared for the Boston Library Consortium, Richard Johnson decries the fact that some mass digitization arrangements between libraries and corporations have been “less than perfect.” The choices that we face are indeed less than perfect. We can choose purity and perfection, and not permit any restrictions on the use of scans […]