some copyright visualization

With the Google Books settlement coming up, a lot of people have been talking about copyright. I think this is generally speaking a really good thing. Here are some useful visualizations that may help you get your head around it.

- From the Financial Times is this article about what the Google business model could mean for out of print books and orphan works. According to their graphic [above] there are a lot of books wiht unclear status in US libraries that we should be concerned about.
- From ALA’s Copyright Advisory Network (a project of the Office of Information and Technology policy) comes a few helpful tools for looking at copyright as it pertains to libraries

why I don’t accept guest posts from spammers, or link to them

I get an email maybe once a week from someone with a human-sounding name saying they read my blog and think they have something my readers might be interested in. Or they offer to do a guest post on my blog. The link is usually some sort of vaguely useful list of something library-related but the URL of the website is not library-related. In fact the URL of the website is usually something like onlinenursepractitionerschools.com, searchenginecollege.com or collegedegree.com (which if you’ll notice is the top hit on google for a search for college degree). I sometimes see other libloggers linking to sites like these and I have a word of advice: don’t. When we link to low-content sites from our high-content sites, we are telling Google and everyone that we think that the site we are linking to is in some way authoritative, even if we’re saying they’re dirty scammers. We’re helping their page rank and we’re slowly, infinitesimally almost, decreasing the value of Google and polluting the Internet pool in which we frequently swim. Don’t link to spammers.

This is a linkless post, for obvious reasons.

EFF takes on Google Books privacy issues

Normally I’m not much of a joiner, but… “EFF is gathering a group of authors (or their heirs or assigns) who are concerned about the Google Book Search settlement and its effect on the privacy and anonymity of readers. This page provides basic information for authors and publishers who are considering whether to join our group.”

You can join too, if you’d like.

just to make sure we’re all on the same page here

“A team from Google interviewed dozens of people in Times Square the other day, asking a simple question: What’s a browser? This was in an effort to understand and improve the customer experience of Google’s own browser, called Chrome.

Turns out that over 90% of the people interviewed could not describe what a Web browser is.”

Don’t believe me? Watch the video. Granted, this comes from Google, but while we’re all being “blah blah Firefox, etc” there are many people who just see what happens when you “click the e” and go forward from there.

unintended consequences of Google Books project

I was lucky enough to catch Brewster Kahle talking with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now on my drive home from NJLA. I feel like I’m pretty up on what’s going on with Google and the Internet Archive and book scanning. What I didn’t know is how Google’s agreements with libraries are hindering the IA’s access, not because of the contracts, but just because of differing priorities. The video and transcript are now available online.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean when you say it’s not legally required. You mean in the contract, what they have with Google? And so, if Google was here, they’d say, “We didn’t say they couldn’t give it to Internet Archive. That’s their prerogative.”

BREWSTER KAHLE
: Correct, that basically Google didn’t put it in their contract. Yet from a library’s perspective, why have a book scanned twice? It’s wear and tear on the books. If they think that—and they wouldn’t have signed it if they didn’t think that the Google thing was a good idea. But now that they’ve signed this with Google, they don’t want it scanned again. And this is a problem, because the books, even the out-of-copyright books, are locked up perpetually.

finger pointing when digital archives disappear

I really enjoyed this article about Google buying up the Paper of Record digital news archives and then “disappearing” it somehow. The timeline is a little unclear and it’s back online for now, but as Google figures out how to monetize it and researchers yowl about lack of access, it raises some pretty interesting issues about scholarship. As information ownership changes hands — and I think if we weren’t talking about Google here we’d be talking about someone else, so it’s not really about them — data can literally disappear either behind a paywall or just gone. Particularly poignant in this case is the comment (sorry no permalink) on the Inside Higher Ed story by Bob Huggins the original founder/creator of the archive discussing what’s happening with the archive now.

When exactly does the cat fight end? It slays me to see the great American Us versus Them debate rage on( I comment as a Canadian). As person who pioneered the digitization of newspapers in the world with our company, Cold North Wind, I fail to see how this acrimony between Academics and Google helps ‘joe public’ access the public record. I have stated on numerous occasions that the newspaper represents ‘our’ only record of daily public life for the past 500 years with a special emphasis on the word “public”… I have been through the grinding wheels of both Google and many public institutions whose goal it seems is to preserve and present history from Newspapers. Both have let me down.

A few things going on, googley and otherwise

I’ve been reading more, typing less. My super-bloggy friends told me lat year sometime that a lot of their friends were blogging less and Twittering more. I was surprised to hear that since it hadn’t really trickled down to my neck of the woods yet, but lately it has. While I still stay on top of my RSS feeds, I suspect that I can only do that because people are blogging less. I don’t know if they’re twittering more, having babies, buying houses or doing something else. I know what I’ve been doing: reading.

I’ve also been travelling which is probably not a totally fun thing to read about [if I could delete everyone's tweets from airports, I would -- unless they're me looking for someone to hang out with when my flight has been delayed] but I go through periods of educating, followed by periods of learning, etc. I also made a resolution to myself for this year to write new talks (some similar slides okay, all similar slides against the rules) so when I give talks, they’re more work but also better, I think. I’ll be doing a 2.0 talk in upstate New York for NCLS and then a few talks at NJLA next week. Lots of writing, good stuff to pass on.

What’s been really on my mind lately is the Google Books settlement. I happen to be lucky that an old time friend of mine from the blogger days, James Grimmelmann, is one of the major players in the “explain this to everyone” field day that is going on. He’s also a keen legal mind and a great writer so it’s been a joy to read what he and others have been writing. Here are some links to essays that may help you understand things.

what does a google policy fellow do?

I thought the Google Policy Fellowship was going to be for people studying Google policy, not people studying policy and funded by Google. In any case, many congrats Sarah Roberts, hope you enjoy your summer at ALA’s Washington Office.

Google’s book people talk to librarians at Midwinter

Library Journal has a thorough article reporting on the panel on the Google Books settlement that happened at Midwinter.

Mitch Freedman, past president of ALA, wondered about changes to the “free to all” ideology of libraries, asking whether Google would permit, as do other databases, site licenses for public libraries. [Google's Dan] Clancy said that, given the consumer market, there was no agreement on remote access, but that could change down the road. “Authors and publishers were not comfortable with remote access.” While Freedman said that issue was resolved with database publishers, Clancy responded that those publishers don’t have a model aimed at consumers. He noted that “the challenge of selling into this market is not Google’s core competence,” so consortial discounts are authorized in the agreement.

Google’s scanning magazines…..

Google now has magazine scans as well

Google Books includes magazines now. Here’s an image from the May 1911 issue of Popular Science. Update: here’s a list of the magazines currently scanned and indexed.