The Future of Books Online

The future of information includes the future archive of our books and printed material – a matter not often talked about in the drive to educate ourselves online. That is why I found Robert Darnton’s On the Media interview and article in the New York Review of Books about Google’s plans to for Book Search really relevant to the chatter that is going around about the future of news and information.

He says,

“To digitize collections and sell the product in ways that fail to guarantee wide access would be to repeat the mistake that was made when publishers exploited the market for scholarly journals, but on a much greater scale, for it would turn the Internet into an instrument for privatizing knowledge that belongs in the public sphere.”

“Yes, we must digitize. But more important, we must democratize. We must open access to our cultural heritage. How? By rewriting the rules of the game, by subordinating private interests to the public good, and by taking inspiration from the early republic in order to create a Digital Republic of Learning.”