Internet Librarian 2005

Having just returned from Internet Librarian 2005 in Monterey, my head is full of thoughts about the Google Print Library Program, which generated so much discussion at the conference.

Despite reservations expressed by Roy Tennant and others, I can't help but think that the Google Print Library Program represents a real win for librarians. For so many years, librarians and their allies in the museum and scholarly communities have been almost alone in believing that artifacts of our cultural heritage are worth preserving, even if there is no immediately obvious benefit in doing so.

Now that the marketplace, beginning with Google, is starting to share that same core value, we've finally arrived at a place where the innovation and entrepreneurship of the open market is being brought to bear on something that librarians and their friends have always cared about. Market forces are no panacea, and sometimes society is forced to correct abuses spawned in the marketplace via legislation and law enforcement. But in the end, market forces have almost certainly solved more problems than they have created. So I say hooray for the Google Print Library Program - I don't doubt there will be roadblocks and upsets along the way, but universal access to information is a noble goal, and I applaud Google for bringing market forces into play in the quest for achieving this goal.

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