Happy New Year! With a new year comes more buzz from Google. Did you really expect anything less? New York Times has an interesting article about the future of the Google Book search project and what it can mean for education. Now that Google has settled various lawsuits surrounding the project and made all parties happy (for the most part), the whole thing can move forward.
Here are some of the higlights of the article:
- Over 5 million out-of-print books have been scanned. This is a treasure trove for research purposes, as most of these will be available for free download.
- New releases will even be available for paid download, usually cheaper than the print version.
- “More students in small towns around America are going to have a lot more stuff at their fingertips,” said Michael A. Keller, the university librarian at Stanford. “That is really important.” (Not to mention really important for distance education)
- Google wants to push access to the entire database to school libraries, making sure that they make it affordable. Students at schools that purchase access will be able to get “full contents of all the books free.” (!)
- Paul Courant, university librarian at the University of Michigan had this to say: “One of the important things about this settlement is that it brings the literature of the 20th century back into a form that the students of the 21st century will be able to find it.”
So, will we one day see courses that use this project entirely for their textbook requirements? Or maybe even a mix of current blogs and news sources with classic books? Probably so, if not already. To see the Google Book project, see http://books.google.com.