: views from the Hill

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Some hand holding required.

There's been buzz recently about Google's efforts to add book content to their searching capabilities, working with the libraries of Stanford, Harvard, the University of Michigan, NYPL and the University of Oxford to digitally scan books from their collections. Initially, only Stanford and UM will have their entire collections on Google while the other libraries will supply specific parts of their collections, including the Bodleian's 19th century collections.

The scanned book texts will be folded into the massive Google databases and will be searchable with Google search tools, bringing back either full text for those titles in the public domain or excerpts/bibliographic material for those items still in copyright. Google will provide links wherever possible to "buy this book!" of course.

Those hip to the buzz but idiots under their skin are busily discussing the imminent demise of The Public Library. Who needs public libraries when needed books can just be downloaded or read online?


Public libraries are far more than just books on the shelves.

Public libraries come staffed with librarians who offer reference services and help with tracking down that book you need. Librarians these days are busy helping people discombobulated by what the Web's search engines offer up.

A librarian would have been of great help to the poor schmoe who stumbled across my blog when he popped /hot dancing club pics in miami/ into Yahoo's search field.

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