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 … Continue reading Google Book Search Begins Adding Quality Control Measures
An abundance of writing on Google Books this week. First, Paul Courant, the University Librarian and Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan, has a new blog that begins with a candid assessment of what it's like "being in bed with Google." Google antagonist Siva Vaidhyanathan provides an immediate response and some good, as-yet-unanswered … Continue reading More Perspectives on Google Books
Here's a possible conundrum worthy of the New York Times's ethicist, Randy Cohen (no relation to your's truly). I have been a major proponent of reCAPTCHA, the red and yellow box at the bottom of my blog posts that uses words from books scanned by the Internet Archive/Open Content Alliance as a system to prevent … Continue reading A reCAPTCHA Dilemma?
The September 2007 issue of the American Historical Association's Perspectives is now available online, and it is worth reading Rob Townsend's article "Google Books: Is It Good for History?" The article is an update of Rob's much-debated post on the AHA blog in May, and I believe this revised version now reads as the best … Continue reading Google Books: Is It Good for History?
[This post is a version of a message I sent to the listserv for CenterNet, the consortium of digital humanities centers. Google has expressed interest in helping CenterNet by providing a (limited) corpus of full texts from their Google Books program, but I have been arguing for an API instead. My sense is that this … Continue reading Why Google Books Should Have an API
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.
Is it possible to have a balanced discussion of Google's outrageously ambitious and undoubtedly flawed project to scan tens of millions of books in dozens of research libraries? I have noted in this space the advantages and disadvantages of Google Books—sometimes both at one time. Heck, the only time this blog has ever been seriously … Continue reading Google Books: Champagne or Sour Grapes?