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Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge:…
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Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge: A View from Europe

by Jean-Noel Jeanneney

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French (5)  English (4)  Dutch (1)  All languages (10)
Showing 4 of 4
The basic message is that Google represents the English language and the English language is the language of the market. It's a call to organize non-english speaking library technology platforms on a non-commercial basis. ( )
  laheadle | Apr 15, 2009 |
Jeanneney is critical of Google the company and their Book Search enterprise in particular. He feels that to give a company so much power over the products of culture is short-sighted and dangerous. It neglects other cultures in the focus on American books, and it does not guarantee organization or clarity. He believes that libraries with government support and funding are the most appropriate venues for digitization projects, as they could more readily ensure longevity and cooperation; libraries' methods would have much more transparency than Google allows. Libraries in all nations should be involved in this endeavor for the betterment of humankind, and he calls Europe to the fore to become a leader in ensuring their cultures and languages in the digital realm.
  Carlie | Feb 4, 2008 |
Jean-Noel Jeanneney, esteemed president of the Bibliotheque nationale de France, started an international dialogue to answer questions about Google and its plans to digitize information from all corners of the globe in order to make it universally accessible; this slim volume is the result of that beginning and that dialogue. Jeanneney, like Michael Gorman, the past president of ALA, worries aloud about the destruction of the whole: “How a search engine selects, organizes and presents information can destroy or invisibly distort the context.” Because France, along with other countries, wants to retain its culture in a global environment, it began its own massive movement toward digitization and presenting worldwide Internet access to French works of all kinds – from sound to image to written word – because cutural diversity, Jeanneney writes, is as important as biodiversity in nature. “Market forces alone cannot guarantee the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity, which is the key to sustainable human development.” While he sees that the imbalance of Google is not deliberate, protecting languages, not French alone, is an imperative; and market economics cannot be trusted to that end. “Many Europeans ... refuse to accept that a cultural work might be considered and treated as just another piece of merchandise.” Jeanneney, it should be noted, received dozens of requests for interviews from all forms of mass media – including American media. This book should be read by all librarians and library school students who doubt that an American interest can capture what it intends to with such a massive digitization project such as “Google Book Search.” Says Jeanneney: “the social and cultural function of librarians will be increasingly important and prestigious in the future; they will be even more useful to the public, and their profession will become more satisfying.” -- Jeanie Straub
  jeaniestraub | Dec 18, 2007 |
Couldn't figure out its point or its line of thought......important to realize it is a French book and thus has a different mindset even if it is translated to English
  ojchase | Jun 29, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
All-in-all the book is a praise of Europe, and also that of the European bureocratic system. The belief in need for regulation and state control over the markets comes out strongly in the text, and of course we’ve heard all about it during these turbulent times, bank crisis and regression. The author optimistically sees the Google Book Search as an incentive get Europe’s act together and organize co-operation of cultural institutions to promote european culture. The first steps that led to the political will to really form such a project are described in the beginning of the books.

I urge anyone interested in libraries, digital libraries, cultural politics, Google, Google Book Search or Europeana to read Jean-Noël’s book.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0226395774, Hardcover)

The recent announcement that Google will digitize the holdings of several major libraries sent shock waves through the book industry and academe. Google presented this digital repository as a first step towards a long-dreamed-of universal library, but skeptics were quick to raise a number of concerns about the potential for copyright infringement and unanticipated effects on the business of research and publishing. 

Jean-Noël Jeanneney, president of France’s Bibliothèque Nationale, here takes aim at what he sees as a far more troubling aspect of Google’s Library Project: its potential to misrepresent—and even damage—the world’s cultural heritage. In this impassioned work, Jeanneney argues that Google’s unsystematic digitization of books from a few partner libraries and its reliance on works written mostly in English constitute acts of selection that can only extend the dominance of American culture abroad. This danger is made evident by a Google book search the author discusses here—one run on Hugo, Cervantes, Dante, and Goethe that resulted in just one non-English edition, and a German translation of Hugo at that. An archive that can so easily slight the masters of European literature—and whose development is driven by commercial interests—cannot provide the foundation for a universal library. 

As a leading librarian, Jeanneney remains enthusiastic about the archival potential of the Web. But he argues that the short-term thinking characterized by Google’s digital repository must be countered by long-term planning on the part of cultural and governmental institutions worldwide—a serious effort to create a truly comprehensive library, one based on the politics of inclusion and multiculturalism. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:21 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"The recent announcement that Google will digitize the holdings of several major libraries sent shock waves through the book industry and academe. Google presented this digital repository as a first step toward a long-dreamed-of universal library, but skeptics were quick to raise a number of concerns about the potential for copyright infringement and unanticipated effects on the business of research and publishing." "Jean-Noel Jeanneney, president of France's Bibliotheque nationale, here takes aim at what he sees as a far more troubling aspect of Google's Library Project: its potential to misrepresent - and even damage - the world's cultural heritage. In this work, Jeanneney argues that Google's unsystematic digitization of books from a few partner libraries and its reliance on works written mostly in English constitute acts of selection that can only extend the dominance of American culture abroad."--BOOK JACKET.

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