Presidential Libraries and the Digitization of Our Lives

Buried in the recent debates (New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Public Historian) about the nature, objectives, and location of the Obama Presidential Center is the inexorable move toward a world in which virtually all of the documentation about our lives is digital. To make this decades-long shift—now almost complete—clear, I made the following infographic […]

The Digital Public Library of America: Coming Together

I’m just back from the Digital Public Library of America meeting in Chicago, and like many others I found the experience inspirational. Just two years ago a small group convened at the Radcliffe Institute and came up with a one-sentence sketch for this new library: An open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would […]

What Scholars Want from the Digital Public Library of America

[A rough transcript of my talk at the Digital Public Library of America meeting at Harvard on March 1, 2011. To permit unguarded, open discussion, we operated under the Chatham House Rule, which prevents attribution of comments, but I believe I’m allowed to violate my own anonymity.] I was once at a meeting similar to […]

Mass Digitization of Books: Exit Microsoft, What Next?

So Microsoft has left the business of digitizing millions of books—apparently because they saw it as no business at all. This leaves Microsoft’s partner (and our partner on the Zotero project), the Internet Archive, somewhat in the lurch, although Microsoft has done the right thing and removed the contractual restrictions on the books they digitized […]

Google Book Search Begins Adding Quality Control Measures

As predicted in this space six months ago, Google has added the ability for users to report missing or poorly scanned pages in their Book Search. (From my post “Google Books: Champagne or Sour Grapes?“: “Just as they have recently added commentary to Google News, they could have users flag problematic pages.”) I’ll say it […]

Debating Paul Duguid’s Google Books Lament

Over at the O’Reilly Radar, Peter Brantley reprints an interesting debate between Paul Duguid, author of the much-discussed recent article about the quality of Google Books, and Patrick Leary, author of “Googling the Victorians.” I’m sticking with my original negative opinion of the article, which Leary agrees completely with.

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