K. Matthew Dames Editorial On Libraries & Google Book Search
“Late last year, I criticized Michael Gorman, president of the American Library Association, for comments he made to The Wall Street Journal about Google Book Search. Gorman comments, printed in a November 1 article, characterized Google’s digitization initiative as “a potential disaster” because the project “reduce[s] scholarly texts to paragraphs” and “flaunt[s] [his] intellectual property rights” as an author.
“My criticism of Gorman had less to do with what he said than his apparent naïveté about how his comments would influence the raging debate about libraries’ role in a digital (and digitized) global information landscape. What Gorman affirms his reputation as a Luddite who is out of touch with today’s information environment, and as such, Gorman speaking as Gorman is irrelevant to the larger debate. On the other hand, Gorman speaking as the president of North America’s largest library representative organization – the de facto voice of “the library community” – potentially has huge legal, political, and economic consequences for the entire information science profession.
“I remain shocked and amazed at Gorman’s penchant for speaking without apparent knowledge or context. But at least Gorman has said something. In contrast, I find it disappointing that our nations’ largest library representative organizations (LROs) have remained eerily silent on digitization copyright issues at a time when they desperately need to be vocal.”
K. Matthew Dames. “Associations’ Silence on Book Search Is Not Golden.” Online. March/April 2006.
K. Matthew Dames. ALA’s Gorman Strikes Out Again. CopyCense. Nov. 4, 2005.
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