Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I have found some great stuff through Google books, whole texts of books that have been really important for my research, accessible from my desktop at home, saving me 80 miles of driving, gas and parking costs.  But that doesn't mean that there are things that have been missed because they were miscataloged (or that I couldnt' come up with the relevant search terms).

I frankly wish Google books would start scanning old periodicals, newspapers, broadsides, posters, maps, etc.

Of course, I would rather look at the real thing, but seeing it online helps to know what is worth really looking at.

I understand that there is a real problem concerning Google having a monopoly on internet access to certain books, but overall I think what they are doing is a good thing, especially with texts that are in the public domain.

I see this issue tied to the problems faced by the print media in general in the digital/internet "age."  There is probably one great solution out there just waiting to be found.

by jjellin on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:18:59 PM EST
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Google is a private company. While I find their legal takeover of other's copyrights highly questionable, I can't blame them for building a database.

The problem is that they'll have no competition.

There's also a concern as you note with the discarding of paratexts when a corporate entity decides to digitize books, whether we're talking about dust jackets, watermarks, variant paper stocks, marginalia, end-papers, broadsides, etc.

Those huge warehouses that will become obsolete will also house many unknown rare and precious books that are still in general stacks. You can go into any old library and putz around the old dusty shelves, and you'll find unbelievably rare books.

by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 23rd, 2009 at 01:30:05 PM EST
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