Today’s big news: Google and the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers have come to an agreement on the lawsuit that was brought against Google in 2005 about the Google Book Search project.
As usual, Jessamyn West has collected and posted an excellent set of links about this.
Two sentences in particular from the Google blog post about this caught my attention:
The agreement gives public and university libraries across the U.S. free, full-text viewing of books at a designated computer in each of their facilities. That means local libraries across the U.S. will be able to offer their patrons access to the incredible collections of our library partners — a huge benefit to the public.
Yes, that means local libraries will be able to offer their patrons access, but will they? I want someone to follow this up in a year or so, to see where in the library those designated computers are. Are they clearly marked as being the “Google Books computer”? Are they centrally located or in some out-of-the way corner of the computer cluster? Are they in the computer cluster at all, or on a staff member’s desk?
Maybe I’m just being overly cynical. But anything that requires libraries to expend extra effort in maintaining their computers, in my experience, has the potential to go awry.