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September 8, 2009

Google Books metadata: Google responds

There’s a terrific colloquy between Google and Geoff Nunberg in response to Geoff’s critique of Google’s handling of the metadata attached to the books Google is digitizing (which I blogged about here). It’s fascinating for its content, but also very cool as a conversation between a company and its market. Of course, it would have been even better if Google had initiated this conversation when it started its digitization project.

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September 4, 2009

Google Books metadata meta-wreck

Geoff Nunberg has a fantastic post warning about the poor quality of the metadata attached to the books Google is scanning into its soon to be dominant-to-the-point-of-monopoly digital library. Apparently, the attempt to gather metadata automatically from the scans has resulted in the introduction of legions of errors. But the real problems are, as Geoff points out, that Google seems not to have a plan for dealing with this problem and that it has not opened up the metadata design process.

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May 19, 2009

Brewster Kahle on Google Books

Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, and the instigator of an open access effort to scan books, has a good op-ed in the Washington Post about the Google Books settlement (some links).

Brewster focuses on the monopolistic concerns about the proposed settlement. He concludes:

This settlement should not be approved. The promise of a rich and democratic digital future will be hindered by monopolies. Laws and the free market can support many innovative, open approaches to lending and selling books. We need to focus on legislation to address works that are caught in copyright limbo. And we need to stop monopolies from forming so that we can create vibrant publishing environments.

Personally, I do not want to see the deal approved unamended. There are some pretty clearly anti-competitive clauses that need to come out (the “most favored nation” one in particular). And the proposed Book Rights Registry has too much power, especially since its supervised by parties whose interests are not aligned first and foremost with the public’s interests (which are, I believe, to achieve the Constitutional desire “[t]o promote the progress of science and useful arts” and to achieve the Internet’s desire to provide maximal access to the works of culture).

(Here’s a much longer interview with Brewster).

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