More Google Print …
Although the media coverage is only picking up, to me, it seems that some of the most interesting discussions have died down. So, here’s a very few that caught my attention for one reason or another:
- Google Kills Children, A Whole Lotta Nothing, 2005/11/5: Link and complaint about interview with spokesperson for the children’s hospital that owns the royalty rights for Peter Pan.
This is the most intellectually dishonest article title I’ve seen in quite some time: Google Print upsets children’s hospital.
Commentator Rob Begbie added:
To my eyes, reading the article, your complaint should be with the lazy hack who presumably phoned up GOSH out of the blue asking for a comment, in order to produce a stupidly sensational article which would get them lots of pageviews.
- Farhad Manjoo covered the issue @ salon.com (11/9)
- Rebecca Tushnet covers her reactions to a talk by Clifford Lynch (CNI) & Jonathan Band in Massive Digitization Projects.
- Siva explicated his concerns in the Chronicle. I liked the article: rather than looking at the legal questions, Siva looked at the larger social questions raised and brought to the fore by the project. I hope Siva’s article triggers more examination of the social concerns, riding on the media’s love of Google to get attention to the general questions of information access and control.
As for the substantive issues Siva addresses, I have two reactions. 1) I wholly agree that libraries ought to be scanning and digitizing and creating databases. But I’m not down on Google because they’re not my preferred party. 2) I’m also not down on Google for what they might do, although I’m leery of amassed power. But if the concern is that Google will have access to all this information, then I have a two-word solution: Arms Race.
A number of panels & debates & radio stories have been filed on it, too, with some interesting responses from listeners / watchers / participants:
- Open Source Radio 12/5 [pointer from participant Matthew Kirschenbaum; responses by participant Karen Schneider and if:book (organizer?)]
- NYPL 11/17 debate [video & audio; responses by participant larry lessig; NYT].
The Google Print ‘debate’ offers a great example of debate polarization: over time, people with an opinion grow more confirmed in that opinion, rather than more nuanced. They dig their heels in more, reflexively responding to critiques with arguments. As they mull over the issue, both supporters and opponents find even more reasons why they were originally right. The intemperate may move towards shrill. (Some people are driven to shrillness by other reasons.) Siva’s article managed to buck that polarizing trend, remaining thoughtful & nuanced (even though I may disagree with him). Hmm. Taking in critical information, letting it affect your opinions, and becoming more nuanced as a result. What an useful skill that would be.