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Libraries Lead the eBook Revolution

Have you read an e-book yet? Do you think it means the end of bookshops and libraries as we know them? Will book people have to turn into e-book people to meet the brave new world? It's all a bit early to say.

I [Philip Harvey, see below] haven't read an e-book and when asked by borrowers if I feel that my profession of librarian is under threat, I ask them if they themselves have used an e-book. No, is the consistent reply. But they know chapter and verse about the developments, usually from what they have seen on the internet. The new slimline gadgets can display everything a text maniac wants to get their hands on. Or so it seems.

More on ebooks, Google, digitisation, and the Information Revolution from Philip Harvey, President of the Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association in Australia's Eureka Street.

ResourceShelf: My Library Seach Option To Return To Google Books

In Coming Weeks: “My Library” Option on Google Book Search Will Be Searchable Again
From Google’s Response:

Last month, we launched a new My Library that enabled users to create and then share collections of books by adding them to “bookshelves.” In the coming weeks, we’ll be restoring the ability to search within My Library by enabling users to search across all of their bookshelves as well.

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Thousands of authors opt out of Google book settlement

Thousands of authors opt out of Google book settlement
Some 6,500 writers, from Thomas Pynchon to Jeffrey Archer, have opted out of Google's controversial plan to digitise millions of books

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Dynamiting Safe Harbors

One of the Deputy General Counsels at Google posted about the case of three of their employees being found criminally liable by an Italian court for what a third party posted to Google-owned YouTube. British tech publication The Register posted more in the matter.

Who is liable for what goes online? Google fears that this would kill the participatory web as it would put platform providers in the unwanted role of censor. The implications for public access computing at libraries is not touched upon yet but the realm of imagination leads to scary destinations.

How Googles Algorithm Rules the Web

How Google’s Algorithm Rules the Web

It possesses the seemingly magical ability to interpret searchers’ requests — no matter how awkward or misspelled. Google refers to that ability as search quality, and for years the company has closely guarded the process by which it delivers such accurate results.

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Google Books - "My Library" search disappears

Google Books - "My Library" search disappears
For a while, it looked like book search was on an uninterrupted upward slope, improving in pretty much every way at a rapid pace - more books, more competitors, more search options. Then a couple of weeks ago, I logged in and I can no longer restrict my search results to items in My Library.

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Is Google Building a Library of Babel?

by Anne O’Sullivan

“The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries. In the center of each gallery is a ventilation shaft, bounded by a low railing. From any hexagon one can see the floors above and below – one after another, endlessly...I declare that the Library is endless.”
- Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”

The Borgesian library, which is “perfect, complete and whole” and composed of “all books”, is not a far cry from reality in the digital age. Google has openly declared its intention of digitizing all the world’s information, and estimates it will take approximately 300 years to do so. Substitute Borges’ hexagonal galleries for Google’s server farms, and an eerie picture begins to emerge, one that should seem reminiscent from the pages of Genesis to which Borges alludes in his title.

Borges aptly names the library in his story after the Tower of Babel parable, wherein humankind, united by one language, has the hubris to build a tower to reach heaven. God strikes down the tower, and punishes the sinners by confusing their tongues, and dispersing them geographically (hence the origin of languages, and nations). For Borges, the Library of Babel comes out of this tradition; though the Library may contain all books, meaning is only made more elusive by the vastness of what the Library contains.

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No Ruling At Google Books Hearing: Judge

NY Times: No Ruling At Google Books Hearing
Lawyers for authors, publishers, corporations and governments came to a New York court to challenge or hail a proposed deal over Google Inc's plans to digitize millions of books, but the judge said he would not rule on Thursday.

And from Publishers Weekly: At today's Google settlement fairness hearing, U.S. attorney William Cavanaugh slammed the Google settlement, telling Judge Denny Chin that the class action vehicle was inappropriate, and that the settlement "turned copyright on its head." Though the settlement may or may not offer tangible benefits, the U.S. attorney stressed, "procedural rules cannot be used to modify rights." He also told the judge that the Department of Justice has an active, "ongoing antitrust investigation" open on the settlement, suggesting that if the judge does approve the deal, DoJ intervention still could be a factor.

The Fight over the Google of All Libraries

An (Updated) Wired.com FAQ on the Google Books Project and the fight over a settlement. Federal judge Denny Chin will have the difficult job of sorting that out Thursday, as he gives the second version of the Google settlement a “fairness hearing.”

Bullet Point: Dear Google, you too need to talk to librarians

Bullet Point: Dear Google, you too need to talk to librarians

I have met too many librarians who take a myopic approach to privacy. That is, privacy is so important to our members that we don’t even let them decide what information to keep or share. We just wipe all our records after some time so they don’t get caught up in the Patriot Act web. What’s worse, we feel that by creating an environment that protects privacy (by eliminating choice) we are protecting the members, when in fact the information they would expose to us is so inconsequential compared to their other activities it almost doesn’t matter.

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