Google Books Pushback

Robert B. Townsend’s post on the AHA blog is getting noticed in various places. His complaints center around poor scanning quality, shoddy metadata, and not providing full access to Public Domain works.

While it’s true Google is structuring their business around organizing the world’s information, it is worth keeping in mind that they are doing so as a business centered on search. Their views on cost effectiveness vs. error rate are not going to be the same as a scholar’s or librarian’s views. The conclusion may be that while Google will be very good at finding things, they won’t be so good about keeping them. Libraries and other institutions concerned with digital preservation and access are therefore not excused from taking charge of those tasks.

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