Friday, May 06, 2005

Great Googly Moogly

In another example of fear of American cultural domination and imperialism, European leaders are trying to form a group to digitize their library collections similar to an initiative being carried out in the US by Google. Some interesting hyperbole in this article.
The [Google] project, announced in December, involves scanning millions of books at the libraries of four universities - Oxford, Harvard, Stanford and the University of Michigan - as well as the New York Public Library and putting them online. It will take years to complete.

So great is the concern that six European leaders have jointly proposed creating a "European digital library" to counter the project by Google Print, as the new venture is known. Other countries are expected to come on board.
Plans by Google Inc. to create a massive digital library have triggered such strong fears in Europe about Anglo-American cultural dominance that one critic is warning of a "unilateral command of the thought of the world."

For Europeans, the fear is that the continent's contribution to the pillars of recorded knowledge will be crushed by a profit-oriented California company - and may end up presenting a U.S.-centric version of the world's literary legacy.
Now I'm not saying Google is like Microsoft as they at least try to give off the impression that doing business doesn't mean you have to be evil - see #6 here. However, we should all consider the implications of so much cultural and intellectual information falling under the control of a corporation. It clearly doesn't help with popular opinion that it happens to be an American corporation.


>>>>>> Blogger BrooklynKat said...

A counterbanalce to Google's "American-centric" view of the world's history could be Library of Alexandria (for those who remember their history, the ancient library was burned and destroyed sometime in the 5th century AD). Now it is being resurrected with an accompanying digital library.

And how ballsy is Europe? They've enjoyed at least 3,000 years of cultural imperialism.

5/06/2005 4:58 PM  

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