Monday, July 28, 2008

The Great Library of Advertising

In a recent article titled “Good and Evil in the Garden of Digitization,” there are a number of interesting observations about Google Book Search and fair use.

Here is one statement that I thought deserved more attention:

The Google project to copy, digitize, and render documents to the world in snippets, if copyrighted, or full-text, if public domain, is the most recent manifestation of a long-held desire to centralize knowledge.

The author quotes from an article that appeared earlier this year in the New Yorker, “The Search Party,” and points out that it concluded with this quote from Google’s C.E.O. Eric Schmidt: “What kills a company is not competition but arrogance. We control our fate.” (The second sentence in that quote might be considered a bit arrogant, but never mind.) Another significant statement made by Schmidt in the New Yorker article was this: “We are in the advertising business.”

Now what would the Ptolemies have said?

There is an exchange on Google, digitization, and the public good here, in response to Darnton’s recent New York Review of Books essay “The Library in the New Age.”

Link to “Good and Evil in the Garden of Digitization”:

Link to “The Search Party”: