The New Yorker : Google’s Moon Shot

    • Quote: Google intends to scan every book ever published, and to make the full texts searchable, in the same way that Web sites can be searched on the company’s engine at google.com. At the books site, which is up and running in a beta (or testing) version, at books.google.com, you can enter a word or phrase—say, Ahab and whale—and the search returns a list of works in which the terms appear, in this case nearly eight hundred titles, including numerous editions of Herman Melville’s novel. Clicking on “Moby-Dick, or The Whale” calls up Chapter 28, in which Ahab is introduced. You can scroll through the chapter, search for other terms that appear in the book, and compare it with other editions. Google won’t say how many books are in its database, but the site’s value as a research tool is apparent; on it you can find a history of Urdu newspapers, an 1892 edition of Jane Austen’s letters, several guides to writing haiku, and a Harvard alumni directory from 1919.
    • Note: Nothing earth shattering here, but this New Yorker article gives some depth to Google’s pursuits. Must reading for educators, I think, who want to get their brains around the changes and stresses that are occuring. Personally, I hope Google is able to make this happen. – post by willrich

    In Defense of Crud

    • Quote: We should not reduce the value of participatory culture to its products rather than its process. Consider, for a moment, all of the arts and creative writing classes being offered at schools around the world. Consider, for example, all of the school children being taught to produce pots. We don’t do this because we anticipate that very many of them are going to grow up to be professional potters. In fact, most of them are going to produce pots that look like lopsided lumps of clay only a mother could love (though it does say something about how we value culture that many of them do get cherished for decades). We do so because we see a value in the process of creating something, of learning to work with clay as a material, or what have you. There is a value in creating, in other words, quite apart from the value attached to what we create. And from that perspective, the expansion of who gets to create and share what they create with others is important even if none of us produces anything beyond the literary equivalent of a lopsided lump of clay that will be cherished by the intended recipient (whether Mom or the fan community) and nobody else. –Henry Jenkins

      Note: Really interesting post that gives a number of defenses of the potential of participatory culture, many of which I find especially relevant from an education stance.
      – post by willrich