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European Libraries Back Alternative To Google Library Project

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Europe rallies against Google library from AFP notes that 19 major European libraries are backing a plan to put European books online, in reaction to Google's project to digitize books. The move, said the president of France's national library, is to prevent "the risk of a crushing American domination in the definition of how future generations conceive the world."

Darn that Moscow-born Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google and European native! What was he thinking, partnering with libraries in the United States that have no European books.

Apparently, Oxford University in the United Kingdom has no European books either. It's so odd, because I live in the UK -- and generally people consider it part of Europe. How did Oxford manage to get by for all those centuries without European works in the library?

Sarcasm aside, I can understand the fears. And to be fair, the concern is about which books will be selected, not that there won't be European books at all. But the fearmongering to rush into a project, in reaction to something Google's only just started and which hasn't yet even been shown to shovel McGoogleBooks down the throats of everyone? It's extreme.

The most disturbing thing to me about Google's project is that there have already been other projects that it isn't coordinating with. Now we may have another project backed by Europe, posing even more duplication. Get it together, folks -- perhaps a little detente is needed so that the entire world is better served.

Need some more acrimony? France Detects a Cultural Threat in Google earlier this month from the New York Times has more on the concerns and the France-backed move for a European project, well worth a read.

And spotted via The Unofficial Google Weblog, the head of UK publisher Bloomsbury warned those in his industry against the Google Print program. The concern this time was not cultural heritage but that of pocketbooks. Google Print will make book swapping like music sharing.


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