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

de Jean-Noel Jeanneney

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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. … (més)
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Paru il y a maintenant 9 ans, ce livre est intéressant à lire puisqu'il a réussi avec brio à prévoir ce que le Géant Google a voulu et à réussi à faire. Sa volonté de dominer partout et de balayer les autres moteurs de recherche. Ce plaidoyer pose donc la question de créer un moteur de recherche spécifique à l'Europe avant d'éviter les dangers de Google à propos de la vie et des données privées de ses utilisateurs.
  Marchais | Dec 9, 2013 |
Le livre explique comment les actions de google, est plus spécifiquement la numérisation des livres, affectent l'Europe. Comment Google influe sur tous les secteurs.
Ouvrage sérieux car auteur historien et président de la Bibliothèque nationale de France.
  CHEMIN | Nov 29, 2013 |
Le 14 décembre 2004, le géant mondial Google entreprend de numériser des millions d'ouvrages. Énième, mais très notable application dans sa mission de démocratisation de l'information, cette action remet en cause le statut du livre, mais également de l'avenir des bibliothèques. L'enjeu est majeur pour l'Union Européenne qui doit protéger sa propriété culturelle et intellectuelle, ainsi que le statut originel du livre. Les conséquences économiques et culturelles seraient immenses en cas de non-réaction de la part de l'Europe.
  Manonbar | Nov 19, 2013 |
Un livre intéressant évoquant la volonté de Google de dominer partout. Un livre paru il y maintenant 8 ans et qui a bien su anticiper le fait que Google balayerai sur son passage les moteurs de recherche Yahoo, Bing... Le livre interroge donc l'Europe sur le fait de créer son propre moteur de recherche car en faisant confiance on prend un risque quant au fait qu'il répertorie des tonnes d'informations personnelles et une faillite de ce géant aurait alors des conséquences en matière de droit d'accès à l'information. ( )
  Teulier | May 16, 2013 |
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 |
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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.
afegit per xmacex | editaRiippumaton asiantuntija, xmacex (Jul 28, 2009)
 
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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. 

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