UT, Google to Put University’s Books Online  Annotated(1)

  • Quote: More than 1 million volumes from the libraries of the University of Texas will be made available on the Internet under an agreement between the university and Google Inc., officials announced Friday. The initiative is part of a project by the search engine giant, based in Mountain View, Calif., to put books from major libraries on its Web site. The New York Public Library, the University of California, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University and Oxford University are among the participants. UT is the 11th library to partner with Google.

    Note: Some themed link blogging today. Save some type of injunction regarding the legality of this, books will become digitized. Personally, I think having the access to all of this information is a powerful development, one that we have to teach our students to use ethically and wisely.
     - post by willrich

Witness to the Decline of Books

  • Quote: The buzzword in the trade is “information literacy,” a misnomer, because what it is really about is mastering computer skills, not promoting a love of reading and books. These days, librarians measure the quality of returns in data-mining stints. We teach students how to maximize a database search, about successful retrieval rates. What usually gets lost in the scramble is a careful reading of the material. Students are still checking out the standard research fare — the Thomas Jefferson biography, the volume of literary criticism on Jane Austen — but few read it. The library checks the books back in a day later, after the students have extracted the information vitals — usually an excerpt or two to satisfy the requirement that a certain number of works be cited in their papers. –Thomas Washington

    Note: More angst about reading and books…

     - post by willrich

Could This Be the Final Chapter in the Life of the Book?

  • Quote: No, it is the teachers who will have the final say. They will determine whether people will read for information, knowledge or, ultimately, wisdom. If they fail and their pupils read only for information, then we are in deep trouble. For the net doesn’t educate and the mind must be primed to deal with its informational deluge. On that priming depends the future of civilisation. How we handle the digitising of the libraries will determine who we are to become. –Bryan Appleyard

    Note: So judging by some of the quotes of late, this is getting pretty serious. Apocalyptic, maybe. But again, books, ultimately, are words and ideas, not paper and bindings. Just because something is in digital form doesn’t make it any less a book, does it? Sure the form factor is different, and maybe the experience feels different to those of us who have grown up with paper and bindings. But I have to tell you, I love lying in bed at night reading on my Tablet PC, scrolling pages, marking up the text. IIf I could get more books in digital form, I would read more of them on my computer. Again, I think the jury is out as to whether this direction is good or bad…it’s just different. Will applying our cultural biases on our kids serve them most effectively in the future?

     - post by willrich