Not everybody is going to be a fan of a judge’s recent decision to approve Google’s book-scanning activities, however an author has penned a short article on why he thinks that the ruling is a good one.
You’d think this process would have been improved with the advent of search engines and digitized text, but it hasn’t. Millions upon millions of books have been published over the past couple of centuries yet precious few are completely searchable. Each year in the US alone, about 350,000 books are published. While you can find a book’s title you can’t search inside the actual book without either buying or borrowing it.
Far better would be to make a book completely searchable so whenever a user looks for a term and comes to your book, she can buy it. Otherwise it sits on a dusty library shelf or on a server somewhere, unloved and unread, like they do at NYU’s Bobst Library and other libraries across the country. It’s a colossal waste, each book a ripple in an ocean of information, very difficult to get to.