in Historical

the old world

Dave points to this guy from the “old world”. There are so many quotable pieces, but here’s a few just to wet your appetite:

“In the eyes of bloggers, my sin lay in suggesting that Google is OK at giving access to random bits of information but would be terrible at giving access to the recorded knowledge that is the substance of scholarly books. I went further and came up with the unoriginal idea that the thing to do with a scholarly book is to read it, preferably not on a screen. It turns out that the Blog People (or their subclass who are interested in computers and the glorification of information) have a fanatical belief in the transforming power of digitization and a consequent horror of, and contempt for, heretics who do not share that belief.”

“The Luddite label is because my mild remarks have been portrayed as those of someone worried about the job security of librarians (I am not) rather than one who has a different point of view on the usefulness of this latest expression of Google hubris and vast expenditure of money involved.

I’m no Antidigitalist

If a fraction of the latter were devoted to buying books and providing librarians for the library-starved children of California, the effort would be of far more use to humanity and society.”

I’m actually not a huge Google fan, but to think that the world would be better if the only way you could access scholarly information is in Libraries is really insane. What about people who don’t have access to libraries? What about the fact that most libraries have only a tiny portion of all knowledge even if you only consider “scholarly work”? What’s wrong with reading on a screen if that is your preferred method? Why would Google want to spend money buying books for only the children of California when by digitizing them they can reach HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of children around the world?

Here is the entire article