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Jessamyn West: Never Trust A Corporation to Do a Librarian’s Job

  Never Trust A Corporation to Do a Librarian’s Job (via lifeguardlibrarian.tumblr.com)

We were having our own doubts, of course. How could you not? The Google Books project seemed to be letting itself go. Things any librarian would notice: bad scans; faulty metadata; narrowing the scope of public domain; having machines do jobs that should be done (or at least overseen) by humans. They seemed to be restricting and worsening access to cultural content, not expanding and improving it. Maybe we were going in different directions?” [full article]

I too have come across an increasing number of  messy and illegible Google Books. Indeed, Google is a corporation, not an archivist, and we can’t rely on them to create preservation-worthy documents–especially Gov Docs. Don’t get me wrong–I have met really awesome and accomplished people who work on the Google Books project, but at the end of the day, Google[‘s] Books privilege/s commodity over content.   Considering Gov Docs are instrumental to our Democracy, we need folks who will ensure scans are absolutely perfect. (On that note: GPO is embarking on a much-needed preservation project [announcement is  the gov-info.tumblr queue]; I urge archivists to get get involved.)

However-as we know, digital files are much more fleeting & fragile than paper, so they should never, ever replace hard copy.


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