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Here are some random thoughts abot the Google library digitization discussions ….
- If large amounts of the G5 library collections are digitized, indexed and searchable then we have an index to books in all library collections. This initiative potentially improves access to all library collections, provided we have good ways of moving from the Google results into those collections.
- This in turn raises interesting questions about coverage moving forward. How well do G5 collections, or those parts of them that are digitized, cover the universe of library collections. What is the incremental impact of adding other collections? Related to this: what proportion of any particular library collection is represented in the G5 collection? Again, this underlines the growing interest in collection analysis.
- Copyright. I have always thought that the distinction we make between ‘bought’ collections which we add to the collection (books, DVDs, CDs, …) and ‘licensed’ collections to which we typically have remote access is a little more grey than it seems. At least for in-copyright materials: this is because one cannot do what one wants with the ‘content’ of the bought items whatever one does with the physical book or CD or whatever. One of the interesting things about this initiative is that it will turn some ‘bought’ resources into ‘licensable’ resources: new agreements may need to be made if the content of the materials is to be used in digital form, even for use within the home institution.