Google Book Project Almost There!

Today, we have an E-School News report that a settlement has been agreed upon, and now needs court approval.

Here’s some background…

Back in February of 2007, The New Yorker magazine ran a feature about Google’s intent to scan every book on the planet (the one’s in English to start with), and make a searchable database out of the verbal brew. The publishing industry had gotten up in arms about the perceived threat to its very existence and set out to block Google.

According to the E-School News report, the project is moving along.

The Google project would offer snippets of books to folks like us, researching from home or office, and full text to library patrons on site, free at the library. We at home or office, could, for a fee, read or buy the full text of in-print books, read out-of-print books, and  presumably, given state-of-the-art print-on-demand technology, buy out-of-print books that interest us. Imagine being able to search the entire printed universe…an infinitely beefed up version of Mortimer Adler’s Syntopicon that accompanied the Britannica Great Books of the Western World series.

If this sort of thing excites you, be sure to visit Project Gutenberg where you can download thousands of free books.

And while were at it, I used to lust after the entire Yale University Press publication of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. Only $50+ per volume for many, many volumes. Even as a devoted teacher of American History, I could never figure out how to get that past my wife, Linda, the chancellor of the exchequer. (She may be the reason I’m not currently living in a cardboard box on skid road.)

Now Yale’s The Papers of Benjamin Franklin are free here. Go figure. But I’m definitely not complaining! (Thank you, Yale University Press!)

The E-School News requires registration to read the full article, but don’t worry, it’s free. You can get their stuff in your Inbox on a daily basis.

This is virtual culture shock even for a digital immigrant. 😉

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One thought on “Google Book Project Almost There!

  1. I think that Books On-line is a great thing. Yet there is no substitute for the feel of a great book in ones hands.

    There is a wonderful book called “Birds of Oregon” by Gabrielson and Jewett, published by Oregon State College in 1940. There are 650 pages which are available on-line, and the book is searchable. Yet a week ago I found a great copy of this book and purchased it for $50.00.

    Am I nuts to pay this much for a book when I can access it any time on-line? I think not.

    I was luck to find an original copy (first edition) of this book. While this one was somewhat reasonable, other great books are so expensive as to make them prohibitively expensive.

    Eventually all written documents of all kinds will be available on-line. There may be fees involved to view the, but they will be there. Get acquainted with what is there now.

    I agree that there’s nothing like a book. Intimate, portlable, searchable on your terms, patient, even beautiful. I left out the part where I confess to being a bibliophile, but if you were reading between the lines of my comments on The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, you may have seen that dark side. 😉 –Hugh

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