Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2007 Issue

Objections Raised To Google Book Search (And This Time It's Not From Publishers)

Oca

The OCA motto, from video on their website.


By Michael Stillman

Not all institutions are pleased with Google or Microsoft's massive book scanning projects, and it is not for the reason most frequently raised, copyright violation. Google began a project of digitizing the contents of millions of old, mostly out of copyright books a few years ago. Microsoft has followed suit with its own project. The idea is to make the content of millions of virtually lost and forgotten old books available to everyone everywhere through the internet. However, Google long ago ran into major opposition from book publishers.

While the publishers have raised no objection to the digitizing of out of copyright material (how could they?), Google has gone a step beyond by scanning material that may still be under copyright (all pre-1923 American books are out of copyright, but many later ones may or may not be depending on whether copyrights were renewed in the past). What has upset publishers is the fact that Google will show portions of protected material without first obtaining the copyright holder's permission. Google will remove books if the holder objects, but the publishers believe this is backwards, that permission must be obtained first before Google can display the books. Microsoft, which has been busy launching its own book search, has avoided this objection by scanning only out of copyright books or those for which it has received the copyright holder's permission.

However, we now discover another objection has been raised to the Google and Microsoft projects, and this one comes not from publishers but from libraries. The New York Times, in its October 22 edition, reports that a number of libraries and institutions, including the Boston Public Library, a consortium of research and academic libraries including the Universities of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the Smithsonian have withheld their books from Google's scanners. Instead, they are making their collections available only to the Open Content Alliance, another organization involved in the digitizing of old books, but unlike Google and Microsoft, a nonprofit association.

Here is the issue. While Google and Microsoft scan the books in the institutional libraries at no charge to the cooperating institution, they place restrictions on how these digitized books may be viewed. Access to the texts is free, but the scanners require that the books be reached only through their respective search engines. So, if you want to view a book Google has scanned, you can only find it by using Google's search engine. You cannot access it through Microsoft or Yahoo's search engine. The same applies to books Microsoft has scanned and Microsoft's search engine.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions