According to a USA Today article, "Google said its objective was to build the world's largest online card catalog."
What's more, "Google Print product manager Adam Smith says the biggest misconception is that Google's master plan is to display entire books online. "We don't have permission to do that," he says. "We're a finding tool, like a digital card catalog."
This is very insightful acknowledgement of what the Google Print initiative is all about. And a welcome one. Many people are tired of hearing how the compute is going to do away with reality as we know it. On the contrary, if it's a useful tool, it will actually enhance reality! That's what progress is all about. Right?
I still maintain that librarians need to be prepared for a rennaisance: free online services like this will mean better access to libraries and greater demand for books. Not only will libraries' collections grow, but our numbers of patrons will too.
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