February 3, 2007
Google Book Search
The February 5, 2007, New Yorker magazine contains a short, interesting article by Jeffrey Toobin, "Annals of Law: Google's Moon Shot," that I highly recommend. (You can find the article here.) The article describes the ambitious Google Book Search project (in which Google plans to digitize through scanning as many of the world's books as it can, thereby making the books searchable using the Google search engine) and the legal controversies that the project has created. Among the many fascinating tidbits that the article contains are these: there are approximately 32 million books listed in WorldCat (a compendium of the holdings of 25,000 libraries) -- the best estimate we have of the total number of books in the world; that Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, are worth about $14 billion each; and that the usage of the Stanford Library's collection increased about 50 percent after the Library digitized its card catalog.
Toobin's view is that the machinery of the law is so cumbersome that the project will be nearly done by the time the legal controversies are resolved.
February 3, 2007 | Permalink
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