Saturday, February 17, 2007

Libraries Urged to Drive a Hard Bargain in Negotiating Digitization Agreements

Richard J. Johnson, former founding executive director of the Association of Research Library's SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), has published “In Google’s Broad Wake: Taking Responsibility for Shaping the Global Digital Library" in the February 2007 special issue of ARL: A Bimonthly Report. He argues that libraries should make every effort to ensure that digitization agreements they enter into protect the public domain and provide for innovative uses of digital files beyond keyword searching. It's essential, he writes, that any arrangements advance or protect a variety of institutional, scholarly, and public interests and address such questions as: "Do these arrangements adequately prevent restrictions on use of public domain works? Do they advance the opportunities for resource discovery and computational analysis? Do they anticipate long-term preservation needs? Do they sufficiently value the substantial investment made by institutions to develop, organize, and maintain collections over time?

The article is available at A press release is at

1 comment:

Michael said...

I feel that the digitalization of public information is beneficial to the public at large. I personally would not be able to attend the institutions that are participating in this historic event. Although I can agree, there needs to be some mediation and control over the use of the knowledge. This would allow scholars and researchers a whole new avenue of information that would not be otherwise available. My concerns for Google lie in scanning of copyrighted material. Perhaps they can take Microsoft’s approach and request that the publisher digitize the information and participate in the event. I also feel that if Google were not in such a hurry to “scan the world” per say, there would be less conflict.