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13494Re: libraries

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  • Katie Glick
    Dec 18 2:15 AM
      I don't think the Google database is a bad thing. I think it will be
      enormously useful for research purposes and for things like deciding
      whether a certain book is really what you're looking for or not. I
      wonder how this works with copyright though ... I assume this would
      only be for public domain material, or for those who volunteer their
      works for it. I can't imagine Michael Crichton letting his latest be
      put up on the internet in its entirety for people to access free of
      charge. And in that case, it makes the research thing a bit iffier.

      The article I read indicated that while some libraries are making
      their entire contents available, others are only releasing certain
      books. I have to think that there will be legal issues surrounding
      this, because copyright law is very specific about what may and may
      not be done with library copies of books. I don't remember it so well,
      but I seem to recall it being limited to patrons making copies (not of
      a substantial portion of the book) or copying a book that was
      irreplacable for archival purposes. But that confuses me because I
      have to imagine that Google is the type of company that would know the
      legal issues and address them before attempting this so ... <shrug>

      I highly doubt that this will spell the end of the printed word. It's
      not that much different than the introduction of mp3s in the music
      world. It may have hurt record sales (and I think that's do to many
      factors, not merely the availability of technology) but I haven't
      noticed that CDs have disappeared. The record store I shop at seems to
      do a lot of business and in fact, it not only sells CDs, but has quite
      a large vinyl section, which one would expect to be totally extinct.
      The only that I don't really see are cassette tapes.

      There are just so many people who have busy lives that do their
      reading on the bus, or subway, or at the beach or poolside on
      vacation. I can maybe see reading on a laptop on the subway, but I
      can't really see people propping up a laptop on the beach to read
      their book. I certainly can't read anything long on the internet. I've
      tried to read books on the internet and it simply doesn't work for me.
      I think people are pretty stubborn about clinging to older forms even
      when new technology arrives. I have a DVD player, but I still have my
      VCR, and my mother still has the Super 8s we filmed when I was a kid.

      Even if, for some reason, printed collections in libraries dwindle, I
      have to imagine that at the very least the larger city libraries will
      still retain their collections and if nothing else, the Library of
      Congress requires physical copies of copyrighted works to be placed in
      its archives and I can't see that changing. If nothing else it would
      be necessary to satisfy certain legal disputes if only electronic
      copies of things were available elsewhere.

      So although I have my doubts on how useful or successful this project
      will be (at least to me personally) I certainly don't see it as the
      doomsday knell for the printed page. There may be a panic period and
      an adjustment period, as there was when mp3s and Napster reared their
      heads, but after legal issues are sorted out and people find new ways
      to make money, things will balance out and we'll probably continue on
      with a new way to research alongside the other research methods
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