A Library to Last Forever – Sergey Brin Defends Google Books

“The fundamental reasons why the electric car has not attained the popularity it deserves are (1) The failure of the manufacturers to properly educate the general public regarding the wonderful utility of the electric; (2) The failure of [power companies] to make it easy to own and operate the electric by an adequate distribution of charging and boosting stations. The early electrics of limited speed, range and utility produced popular impressions which still exist.”This quotation would hardly surprise anyone who follows electric vehicles. But it may be surprising to hear that in the year when it was written thousands of electric cars were produced and that year was nearly a century ago. This appeared in a 1916 issue of the journal Electrical World, which I found in Google Books, our searchable repository of millions of books. It may seem strange to look back a hundred years on a topic that is so contemporary, yet I often find that the past has valuable lessons for the future. In this case, I was lucky — electric vehicles were studied and written about extensively early in the 20th century, and there are many books on the subject from which to choose. Because books published before 1923 are in the public domain, I am able to view them easily.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/opinion/09brin.htmlAlso see:In Op-Ed, Google Co-Founder Defends Books Project
Google co-founder Sergey Brin defended his company’s book-digitization efforts in a New York Times op-ed Friday, saying it will broaden the public’s access to a vast number of works.Mr. Brin, who fielded questions about a range of topics Wednesday, mentioned that he had an opinion piece in the works shortly after a U.S. district judge set a new deadline for Google’s revised settlement.His piece begins with a quote from a journal article published in 1916, which he found in Google Books. “But the vast majority of books ever written are not accessible to anyone except the most tenacious researchers at premier academic libraries,” he writes. “Books written after 1923 quickly disappear into a literary black hole. With rare exceptions, one can buy them only for the small number of years they are in print. After that, they are found only in a vanishing number of libraries and used book stores.”

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