Google to produce internet guide in a leaflet

Google to print a leaflet as part of push to get all Britons online by the end of 2012
Google, one of the world's most prominent evangelists for all things digital, has turned to one of the most traditional of old media routes to try to persuade more British people to go online: it is printing a leaflet.

The Simple Guide to the Internet is part of the search engine group's commitment to Race Online 2012, an initiative started by the UK government's digital inclusion champion, Martha Lane Fox.


Can't Quote This

This week a federal judge heard arguments to determine whether to approve the settlement between Google and two major arms of the publishing industry over Google Books. Many groups used this week's hearings to air grievances with the project. Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig argues an unintended consequence of the settlement could alter print culture as we know it.

Transcript and MP3 file here

New from Google Labs: An Experimental Data Visualization Tool for Public Data

New from Google Labs: An Experimental Data Visualization Tool for Public Data
Something neat via The Resourceshelf.... ?The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. As the charts and maps animate over time, the changes in the world become easier to understand. You don't have to be a data expert to navigate between different views, make your own comparisons, and share your findings.

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.


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


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.


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.


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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