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October 26, 2005

Microsoft Enters The Digital Print Game; Google Responds to Critics

.: Some interesting news on the movement to digitize all the books in the world! ;-) In Microsoft joins book search plan, the BBC reports the following:

Microsoft has joined a Yahoo-backed effort to digitise the world's books and other works to make them searchable and accessible to anyone online.

The software giant said it would work with the Open Content Alliance (OCA), set up by the Internet Archive, to initially put 150,000 works online.

The move comes as Google faces growing legal pressure from publishers over its own global digital library plans.

Microsoft said it would initially focus on works already in the public domain.

Meanwhile, Eric Schimdt, CEO of Google, wrote a commentary that was published in the op-ed section of the Wall Street Journal on October 18, 2005, and has been reprinted in the Official Google Blog; here is an excerpt:
Imagine sitting at your computer and, in less than a second, searching the full text of every book ever written. Imagine an historian being able to instantly find every book that mentions the Battle of Algiers. Imagine a high school student in Bangladesh discovering an out-of-print author held only in a library in Ann Arbor. Imagine one giant electronic card catalog that makes all the world's books discoverable with just a few keystrokes by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

That's the vision behind Google Print, a program we introduced last fall to help users search through the oceans of information contained in the world's books. Recently, some members of the publishing industry who believe this program violates copyright law have been fighting to stop it. We respectfully disagree with their conclusions, on both the meaning of the law and the spirit of a program which, in fact, will enhance the value of each copyright. Here's why

Google's job is to help people find information. Google Print's job is to make it easier for people to find books. When you do a Google search, your results now include pointers to those books whose contents, stored in the Google Print index, contain your search terms. For many books, these results will, like an ordinary card catalog, contain basic bibliographic information and, at most, a few lines of text where your search terms appear..

October 3, 2005

Was It Inevitable? Google Print Slapped With Lawsuit

.: Details available from Barbara Quint's report on Information Today's site...and on the heels of Quint's first report is her second (related) one: Open Content Alliance Rises to the Challenge of Google Print

June 9, 2005

SLA Session - Future of Search Engines (Google View)

:: I attended a session at SLA in Toronto called The Future of Search Engines. One of the speakers was Cathy Gordon, Director of Business Development for Google. After stating that her opinions were her own, and didn't reflect those of Google, she began with a mini infomercial (standard fare, and expected) about the infamous search engine, noting that users can now search in >100 languages, it is the #1 search engine in 17 of 20 countries (didn't say which 17 countries, or the names of the other 3), and that Google powers 70% of all Internet searches. Google doesn't create its own content, tries to knock down spam results, and does not accept payment for inclusion. Users may submit web pages to Google for indexing, and currently it indexes >8 billion pages, and >12,000 news sources.

She mentioned "Premium Content" (apparently a new or forthcoming feature in which Google will somehow get behind subscription firewalls to for-fee dbs), and noted that book search results from Google Print are not integrated into Google web searches, as the pages from the books are not ranked.

In discussing Google Scholar, she said it was created by an engineer looking for scholarly content. Some dbs and full-text scholarly journals are being indexed, along with theses, dissertations, books, technical reports, and other material. When asked about a source list of what is indexed in Google Scholar, she said she didn't know exactly why this still isn't being offered by Google. GS uses link resolvers to allow for access to articles on an IP-authenticated machine (where the institution subscribes to the publication in which the article is found).

As for the topic of the session itself, Gordon believes that users will continue to demand more control, while the search engine will become more personal and sophisticated but must remain simple to use. The depth, breadth and type of searchable content will continue to expand, and the challenge is to present this variety of information in a coherent and cohesive manner. Geographic and language barriers will continue to decrease, and desktop tethering will be eliminated - i.e., the need to have a desktop computer to search will no longer be the case as searching becomes ubiquitious. To this end, Google offers the option of personalizing your Google homepage, along with My Search History.

She summarized as follows: searching remains a primitive function, users must be at the centre of improvements, the increasing amounts of searchable information will require innovative solutions to manage its complexity, and searching must be accessible at any time, from any location, using any device.

May 31, 2005

Information Today: "Google Library Project Hit by Copyright Challenge from University Presses"

:: From Information Today comes word of the first challenge of copyright violation by Google regarding the Google Print Library Project. Barbara Quint, the author of the article, notes that the challenge is coming from the nonprofit university presses:

May 31, 2005 — Some might say it had to happen. Extending the Google Print program to the digitization of five of the world’s largest university research libraries, including copyrighted as well as non-copyrighted material, would inevitably seem to lead to a challenge of copyright violation. Oddly enough, the challenge has come from the less commercial publishers—the nonprofit university presses. On May 20, Peter Givler, executive director of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP; http://www.aaupnet.org), an organization with 125 member publishers, sent a letter to Alexander Macgillivray, Google’s house counsel for intellectual property. The letter challenged Google to defend its position on what would appear on the surface as a massive copyright violation and infringement on publishers’ rights and revenues. However, in researching this story, the issue of author copyrights has emerged as a possible major factor.
The full article is here.