Google (GOOG) is partnering with the British Library to scan 250,000 old books, journals, and other documents. This should add greatly to the range and volume of 18th- and 19th-century public domain works available on the Web.
- On the one hand, it's great to see more accessible historical and cultural artifacts.
- On The Other Hand, Google isn't paying a cent for the privilege; so my taxes and yours are going to help Google sell advertising -- simply scandalous.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: FreddeGredde's killer Killer Queen cover...
Aunty sets the scene:
It will allow readers to view, search and copy the out-of-copyright works at no charge on both [ bl.uk] and Google Books. ... The works ... date from between 1700 and 1870, and the project will take some years to complete, with Google covering the costs. ... Google has similar partnerships with about 40 libraries around the world.
The digitised works are just a small fraction of the library's collection [of] more than 150 million items [from] every age ... including books, journals, manuscripts, maps, ... newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages.
John Oates adds:
The Library had previously partnered with Microsoft which digitised books from the 19th century. Alongside the Google deal, the library is continuing work with Brightsolid, a subsidiary of DC Thomson, to digitise its newspaper collection.
The Google slurp will see 40 million pages scanned. ... All the works are out of copyright. ... The search giant pays the cost of scanning. ... The scanned books will also be available through the Europeana site, funded by the European Commission. ... .
Stewart Meagher calls it "scantastic":
It has been required by law since 1662 that a copy of any publication made in the UK is deposited in the British Library.
Google has ... in the past ... fallen foul of copyright laws in its quest to open up public collections ... but now has agreements with more than 40 major libraries all over the world.
Kate Solomon waxes wise:
The British Library has not shied away from the brave new digital world, with smartphone apps, Kindle deals and newspaper digitisation among its digital arsenal.
If you're after 18th century texts, like an account of a stuffed Hippopotamus owned by the Prince of Orange ... the deal ... gives Google Books a leg up ... stakes, setting it apart from competitors like the Amazon Kindle library and Apple's iBooks.
And Rachel Holdsworth hates jobsworths:
The project will ... [also] include some feminist material about Queen Marie-Antoinette.
Good news if you’ve ever tried to find a spare desk in the Reading Rooms or felt ... intimidated by the security guards ... telling people off for using biros.
But Ben Woods notes the BL gets no money:
No money is changing hands [said] a spokesman for the British Library. ... "Google are doing the digitising and we are selecting the items."
So why does hermes2000 find it "hilarious"?
What is hilarious is that Americans will be able to see much more of the BL's information ... than the British will, thanks to the rigidity of UK copyright laws. ... Meanwhile, I've noticed several books uploaded onto Google books that spontaneously disappear ... about the time the book appears on Amazon as a 'reprint'.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.