Monday, November 07, 2005

Google Adds Print to Search Options

Within the past few years, Google has added Blog and catalog searching, SMS text messaging quick info, Google Earth, and can even be used from a mobile phone. Google seems to have cornered the market on one stop shopping for convenience. So what’s next?

Google has stated that its mission is to organize the world’s information and that its next task is to digitize book content and make it available within your Google search results. Google Print can be searched by visiting . Here you can browse, keyword search, or enter book titles and receive actual pages scanned from the book itself in return. Options that are included are “Buy this book”, book reviews, links to bookstores online, bibliographic data, as well as, “Find it at your Library.”

Ever so controversially Google has digitized book content from two sources, publishers and libraries. Some of the worlds most acclaimed research libraries such as the Universities of Michigan, Harvard, Stanford and Oxford and public libraries such as New York Public Library have contracted with Google to let their company scan much of their collection and make it available on the web. This contract has made academic material such as works of literature, government documents, and biographies available online.

Users can save individual pages as well as cut and past excerpts from the text. Printing from site has proved to be somewhat limited and must be done a single page at a time.

Google Print has marketed themselves to publishers in hopes that by scanning excerpts from newly released titles Google users will be prompted to buy the books.

The controversy arises in the arena of copyright. Should Google be allowed to scan copyrighted materials? How does this impact the fair use policy and copyright law? Is this vital to the future of research and scholarship?