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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Best Website on the Internet for Interdisciplinary Folk

Our friends at the Education Policy Blog have reviewed Bookforum.com, a resource you’ll want to get acquainted with. Rather than repeat what they’ve said, check out the treats for yourself.

Education Policy Blog: Best Website on the Internet for Interdisciplinary Folk

Unfortunately, the EPB link doesn’t work for Bookforum, but this one will.

An Assault on Reason

Began reading Al Gore’s new book today. In the introduction he sets the tone for the book.

In eighteenth century America, print media facilitated reasoned debate through the slow, but wide, dissemination of ideas. The cream of current thinking rose to the top in a generally newly literate population.

Lately TV and money have had a hugely corrupting influence on the American people’s ability, and even desire, to think straight about what’s important to maintain our freedoms and economic way of life.

Gore speaks of the internet as a vehicle for a renascence of dialog in the marketplace of ideas, opinion based on fact, and ultimately some synthesis of valid opinion.

I’m eager to see how he develops the rest of his ideas.