Google has a propriety book scanning technique AND has a patent on said technique. There's an article with diagrams at BuzzNewsRoom and at TechCrunch. As both articles highlight, Google is scanning thousands (millions?) of books a year...who knows how many?
Regardless, the point is that the project is full speed ahead and it looks as if there's no turning back to the way things used to be when it comes to searching, retrieving, and accessing information/books. Being a library science scholar I can't help but think what this continues to mean for librarians. I am still working through scenarios, as every librarian should be, because these are exciting and quickly changing times. The main challenge/excitement for me is the fact that how we conceptualize the institution of library and the practices that articulate that institution is way different now.
Libraries will never be able to scan books as quickly as Google. However, we will be able to curate better (or with different objectives) because information seekers need curation that isn't bound up in selling something. It's a knowledge project, and as long as librarians recognize that we can move successfully around in these new spaces without old institutional strictures.
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