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Milo Christensen
10-12-2009, 02:38 PM
Sergey Brin has an interesting op-ed piece in the NYT about Google's goal of digitizing every book (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/opinion/09brin.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1255374338-9RF0QjlVpzDj2coTaGdFvw)still in existence. And those three words at the end of the previous sentence deserve to be repeated - still in existence.

I remember working the night shift for a republishing company. We'd put a rare book on a special ^ shape that had two lenses underneath and shoot full size negatives of both pages with one exposure, lift the book, turn the page, repeat. Develop the negatives in reasonably automated film processors, cut to size, strip into flats following pagination schemes, burn the flat to a metal plate, mount the plate on a printing press, run on archival paper the 100 or so copies requested by the consortium of academic libraries that were our only customer, fold, assemble, bind, cut, cover, stamp the cover with the title, box and ship 'em out.

Now, I can download the same book from Google Books in minutes or search millions of books for key phrases with the search results popping up the page(s) with the key phrase highlighed on it.

Figment
10-12-2009, 02:51 PM
What's that thing about the dangers of not adequately respecting information gained too easily?

johnw
10-12-2009, 03:41 PM
I've handled books more than 400 years old at my store, and they were fine (as long as you could read latin.) I wonder how well electronic media will hold up.

Kaa
10-12-2009, 03:46 PM
Seems like a paperback would hold up better in the end times, than a grouping of electrons.

Rather depends on your vision of the end times, I'd say... :-)

Kaa

Kaa
10-12-2009, 03:49 PM
I wonder how well electronic media will hold up.

That misses the point. Electronic media does NOT have to hold up well. The thing about digital is the ability to make perfect copies. Information moves from media to media without suffering any deterioration or decay.

Kaa

Shang
10-12-2009, 03:50 PM
Unfortunately many, if not most, modern books are printed on high-acid content paper. Because of the dessicating action of the acid the paper eventually deteriorates into brown confetti and dust. Trying to preserve these books is difficult, tedious and expensive.
Read more about it here:
http://www.loc.gov/preserv/deterioratebrochure.html

Shang
10-12-2009, 03:53 PM
I've handled books more than 400 years old at my store, and they were fine (as long as you could read latin.) I wonder how well electronic media will hold up.

Right.
Early books were often printed on much more durable paper. High rag content paper, for instance, survives much longer than say wood-pulp paper.

Songololo
10-12-2009, 04:01 PM
I say scan away!

Who knows where we're heading ... ;)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/75/Farneheit_451.jpg

paladin
10-12-2009, 05:24 PM
I have a bible in my collection, made sometime in the late 1700's.....in the back is apparently the birthdates of the owners parents, grandparents, and all their siblings......and signed in the inside cover "Luther Sage Kelly". The book is not the oldest in my collection, but in as good a condition as most and better than some. The oldest such document that I have was signed by Charles D'Artagnon.

johnw
10-12-2009, 05:42 PM
That misses the point. Electronic media does NOT have to hold up well. The thing about digital is the ability to make perfect copies. Information moves from media to media without suffering any deterioration or decay.

Kaa
Unless you print them out, this still leaves all the copies on electronic media. Some of this is preserved on media using powdered rust, which is not much more durable than it sounds. Some is on CDs which are easily shattered and scratched.

At one point I needed to access word processing files only ten years old, and had to put it through word processing programs of different vintages to get it to the point where a modern word processor could read it. With books, you only have to be able to read the language to read the book. With electronic files, you have to be able to read the program before you can access the text at all. What good are perfect copies if you don't have a program that can read them?

ShagRock
10-12-2009, 05:49 PM
Interesting topic. It sure is a nice feeling to have 'old' books in one's hands to read..I think one does feel more connected to the past. But the 'information' contained is another matter, and by being digitized, can be available to many readers who would otherwise not have so easy a time to access. I think it's the wave of the future.

The link below is a matching NYT piece with reactions to Sergey Brin's project...varied opinions for sure.

http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/opinion/09brin.html?permid=15

johnw
10-12-2009, 05:51 PM
Unfortunately many, if not most, modern books are printed on high-acid content paper. Because of the dessicating action of the acid the paper eventually deteriorates into brown confetti and dust. Trying to preserve these books is difficult, tedious and expensive.
Read more about it here:
http://www.loc.gov/preserv/deterioratebrochure.html

Actually, you'd be surprised how many modern books are printed on good paper. I've dealt with books that were disintegrating, but not very many. This is a controversy that has been going on for some time. If you want to read the other side of the debate, I recommend Double Fold, by Nicholson Baker.


Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper (2001)http://j-walk.com/nbaker/doublefold.jpg

This is a remarkably readable book, even for those who have no real interest in the subject matter. You will be surprised, enlightened, and probably disgusted,
Opening Paragraph:

In 1993, I decided to write some essays on trifling topics -- movie projectors, fingernail clippers, punctuation, and the history of the word "lumber." Deborah Garrison, then an editor at The New Yorker, called to ask if I wanted to review a soon-to-be published history of the world. Perhaps I should have written the review; instead, I suggested a brief, cheerful piece about the appeal of card catalogs. I began talking to librarians around the country, and I found out that card catalogs were being thrown out everywhere. I grew less cheerful, and the essay grew longer.
Book Jacket Copy:

Since the 1950s, our country's libraries have followed a policy of "destroying to preserve": They have methodically dismantled their collections of original bound newspapers, cut up hundreds of thousands of so-called brittle books, and replaced them with microfilmed copies -- copies that are difficult to read, lack all the color and quality of the original paper and illustrations, and deteriorate with age. Half a century on, the results of this policy are jarringly apparent: There are no longer any complete editions remaining of most of America's great newspapers. The loss to historians and future generations is inestimable.
In this passionately argued book, bestselling writer Nicholson Baker, author of The Mezzanine, Vox, and The Everlasting Story of Nory, explains the marketing of the brittle-paper crisis and the real motives behind it. Pleading the case for saving our newspapers and books so that they can continue to be read in their original forms, he tells how and why our greatest research libraries betrayed the public's trust by selling off or pulping irreplaceable collections. The players include the Library of Congress, the CIA, NASA, microfilm lobbyists, newspaper dealers, and a colorful array of librarians and digital futurists, as well as Baker himself, who discovers that the only way to save one important newspaper archive is to cash in his retirement savings and buy it -- all twenty tons of it. Double Fold, the author's first full-length nonfiction in a decade, is a timely book on a subject of great intellectual and historical importance, a fascinating exposť written in the intense, brilliantly worded narrative style that Nicholson Baker fans have come to expect.

Shang
10-12-2009, 09:09 PM
Speaking as a bibleoholic I hope that printed books on good paper are with us forever.
I have a few letterpress printing presses and a lot of foundry type... anybody want to learn the California case and join me in fine art printing...?

Phil Heffernan
10-12-2009, 09:34 PM
Speaking as a bibleoholic I hope that printed books on good paper are with us forever.
I have a few letterpress printing presses and a lot of foundry type... anybody want to learn the California case and join me in fine art printing...?

I for one would be very interested in that, Shang...Could you drop me a line?;)
PH

Jim Bow
10-12-2009, 09:37 PM
Speaking as a bibleoholic I hope that printed books on good paper are with us forever.


I think the word is "bibliophile" for lover of books.

I think "bibleoholic" would describe Jerry Fallwell and his ilk.

johnw
10-13-2009, 01:01 PM
Biblioholism (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1555912400/thebiblioholi-20): n. [BIBLIO + HOLISM] book, of books: the habitual
longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess.

Shang
10-13-2009, 02:43 PM
I think the word is "bibliophile" for lover of books.

I think "bibleoholic" would describe Jerry Fallwell and his ilk.

I stand corrected.
But "biblioholic" comes closer than "bibliophile"... you haven't seen my library... it is the result of an addiction.

Sam F
10-13-2009, 02:55 PM
I've got a "better" idea, albeit a very delayed joke.
Transcribe all of Beertie Wooster's adventures in at least 4 languages onto baked clay tablets and bury them in your choice of desert in a tomb-like underground structure. Edit out all evidence of Mr. Woodhouse's* authorship to make them look like actual accounts of a real life.
You can figure out what happens a few thousand years later...

*Sorry PG!

Captain Blight
10-13-2009, 03:24 PM
I've got a "better" idea, albeit a very delayed joke.
Transcribe all of Beertie Wooster's adventures in at least 4 languages onto baked clay tablets and bury them in your choice of desert in a tomb-like underground structure. Edit out all evidence of Mr. Woodhouse's* authorship to make them look like actual accounts of a real life.
You can figure out what happens a few thousand years later...

*Sorry PG!
...And some people say SamF doesn't have a sense of humor.

LeeG
10-13-2009, 03:41 PM
just you wait, more material for machine intelligence to pull a fast one on you.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singularity_Is_Near#2045:_The_Singularity

2045: The Singularity
$1000 buys a computer a billion times more powerful than the human brain. This means that average and even low-end computers are hugely smarter than even highly intelligent, unenhanced humans.
The Singularity occurs as artificial intelligences surpass human beings as the smartest and most capable life forms on the Earth. Technological development is taken over by the machines, who can think, act and communicate so quickly that normal humans cannot even comprehend what is going on; thus the machines, acting in concert with those humans who have evolved into postbiological cyborgs, achieve effective world domination. The machines enter into a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, with each new generation of A.I.s appearing faster and faster. From this point onwards, technological advancement is explosive, under the control of the machines, and thus cannot be accurately predicted.
The Singularity is an extremely disruptive, world-altering event that forever changes the course of human history. The extermination of humanity by violent machines is unlikely (though not impossible) because sharp distinctions between man and machine will no longer exist thanks to the existence of cybernetically enhanced humans and uploaded humans.

George Roberts
10-13-2009, 05:27 PM
"The process of "waking up" the universe will be complete as early as 2199."

When one considers that computers after the "singularity" can expand in size only at the speed of light, the "waking up" process in 2199 should be limited to a radius of 150 light years of Earth. A very small and empty part of the Universe.

johnw
10-13-2009, 05:56 PM
I've got a "better" idea, albeit a very delayed joke.
Transcribe all of Beertie Wooster's adventures in at least 4 languages onto baked clay tablets and bury them in your choice of desert in a tomb-like underground structure. Edit out all evidence of Mr. Woodhouse's* authorship to make them look like actual accounts of a real life.
You can figure out what happens a few thousand years later...

*Sorry PG!
Though it's pronounced Woodhouse, it's spelled Wodehouse. My favorite author.

Practical jokes are never as funny to those they are played on as to those playing the joke.

By the way, there was a joke on Red Dwarf about a new page of the bible being discovered, intended to go at the beginning. It translated as follows:

"This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

johnw
10-13-2009, 05:58 PM
just you wait, more material for machine intelligence to pull a fast one on you.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Singularity_Is_Near#2045:_The_Singularity

2045: The Singularity
$1000 buys a computer a billion times more powerful than the human brain. This means that average and even low-end computers are hugely smarter than even highly intelligent, unenhanced humans.
The Singularity occurs as artificial intelligences surpass human beings as the smartest and most capable life forms on the Earth. Technological development is taken over by the machines, who can think, act and communicate so quickly that normal humans cannot even comprehend what is going on; thus the machines, acting in concert with those humans who have evolved into postbiological cyborgs, achieve effective world domination. The machines enter into a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, with each new generation of A.I.s appearing faster and faster. From this point onwards, technological advancement is explosive, under the control of the machines, and thus cannot be accurately predicted.
The Singularity is an extremely disruptive, world-altering event that forever changes the course of human history. The extermination of humanity by violent machines is unlikely (though not impossible) because sharp distinctions between man and machine will no longer exist thanks to the existence of cybernetically enhanced humans and uploaded humans.



Also because of zoos.

High C
10-13-2009, 06:20 PM
I was searching recently for a deal on a college text book for my daughter's ocean biology class, a $125 book. To my amazement, I found it in its entirety on Google books, right there, ready to read...no charge. I could've printed my own copy.

What about copyrights?

Gonzalo
10-13-2009, 07:12 PM
Somebody put a lot of work into producing that textbook. If people want to use it, the author(s), even if a dastardly corporation, deserves to be compensated. If no one wants to use it, well, the authors have taken a gamble and lost. On the face of it Google has no right to provide it to the world free of cost. That Google asserts that right is very disturbing.

Honestly, it is enough to drive one to Bing, except that Bing is run by that other uber arrogant corporation, Microsoft. At least--AFAIK--Microsoft isn't arrogating to itself the right to publish other peoples' work.

Gonzalo
10-13-2009, 07:21 PM
Of course, I've enjoyed finding some very old, out of print, books on Google books. If a book is in the public domain, more power to Google. But publishing other people's books for all to read without significant compensation to the copyright holders is just wrong.

Recently, I did some research using an in-print book available on Google books. However, many pages were missing from the Google copy, so in one way of looking at it, it was a "teaser": to get the full value of the work I would still have to buy the book. However, the pages that were included were about enough for me to learn what I needed to know about a topic I didn't have a vital interest in. I took advantage of Google's theft of the author's intellectual property in spite of its being truncated, although if I wanted to know more I would need to buy the book.

ShagRock
10-13-2009, 08:03 PM
Somebody put a lot of work into producing that textbook. If people want to use it, the author(s), even if a dastardly corporation, deserves to be compensated. If no one wants to use it, well, the authors have taken a gamble and lost. On the face of it Google has no right to provide it to the world free of cost. That Google asserts that right is very disturbing.

The other side of the coin is 'information access for the masses', particularly those who cannot afford a personal 'hard copy' library.

http://pglaf.org/~hart/gutenberg.philosophy.txt

Kaa
10-13-2009, 08:34 PM
On the face of it Google has no right to provide it to the world free of cost. That Google asserts that right is very disturbing.

LOL.

Quick! Grab the torches and the pitchforks! I know the way to the nearest public library...

Kaa

High C
10-13-2009, 08:41 PM
LOL.

Quick! Grab the torches and the pitchforks! I know the way to the nearest public library...

Kaa

Your public library paid for those books and is lending them legally. It is a violation of the law to copy them and/or distribute those books. Gonzalo is right. Google is openly violating copyright laws.

Kaa
10-13-2009, 08:48 PM
Your public library paid for those books and is lending them legally. It is a violation of the law to copy them and/or distribute those books.

It's a violation of law to copy them? Really? I don't think so.


Google is openly violating copyright laws.

I am sure Google got a stable of smart lawyers who disagree with you. They are admitted to the bar -- are you? :-)

Kaa

Milo Christensen
10-13-2009, 09:00 PM
And that was what the class action suit was all about. You should read up on it. (http://www.law.com/jsp/tal/PubArticleTAL.jsp?id=1202434451266&brGoogle_Books_Scanning_the_Future&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1)



But a curious thing happened on the way to the courthouse. Instead of litigating, the parties began talking about how a broad licensing agreement might work. Allan Adler, vice president of legal affairs at the AAP, says his organization quickly realized that "a judicial resolution of this suit wasn't going to take us very far." If the authors and publishers were to win in court, a tantalizing new possibility-the reincarnation of millions of out-of-print, mostly forgotten books in digital form-wouldn't happen. If Google were to win, it would still be barred from doing more than scanning and displaying snippets of text. Here was a chance, the parties saw, to craft a licensing deal that would give Google the rights to scan, display, and sell millions of unavailable copyrighted works, with most of the profits returning to the copyright holders.


The important part to this all:


The good news, for Google, for the class members, and for those who hope a completed deal would spur other content providers to make their products universally accessible, is that the Google book search settlement's most powerful critic-the Justice Department-also supports its negotiator's broader aims. "A properly constructed settlement," Justice's filing says, "has the potential to breathe life into millions of works that are now effectively off-limits to the public."

High C
10-13-2009, 09:03 PM
It's a violation of law to copy them? Really? I don't think so.



I am sure Google got a stable of smart lawyers who disagree with you. They are admitted to the bar -- are you? :-)

Kaa

I think you'd do well to consult with a lawyer the next time you feel moved to do a little copying.

Here ya go: http://www.umuc.edu/library/copy.shtml

That'll be $375. :p

Kaa
10-13-2009, 09:15 PM
I think you'd do well to consult with a lawyer the next time you feel moved to do a little copying.

Thank you, I'll pass. I am reasonably happy with my current degree of knowledge of copyright law.

Kaa

High C
10-13-2009, 09:18 PM
Thank you, I'll pass. I am reasonably happy with my current degree of knowledge of copyright law.

Kaa

Well yeah, now that you've read my link. ;)

$250? :D

Kaa
10-13-2009, 09:27 PM
Well yeah, now that you've read my link. ;)

$250? :D

I didn't, actually :-)

But lessee, you've been reading my copyrighted posts, hmm... I think $50 per post should be fair. Please total up the amount and send me a certified check :D

Kaa

High C
10-13-2009, 09:30 PM
I didn't, actually :-)

But lessee, you've been reading my copyrighted posts, hmm... I think $50 per post should be fair. Please total up the amount and send me a certified check :D

Kaa

Yeah, but I didn't copy them. In fact, I forgot them instantly. :p :D

Kaa
10-13-2009, 09:39 PM
Yeah, but I didn't copy them. In fact, I forgot them instantly. :p :D

Oh yes, you did copy them. First you copied them off the WoodenBoat servers to your hard drive, then there was some copying to RAM, and finally a copy found its way to your screen.

I am quite sure I will be able to find copies -- illegal copies! -- of my posts on your hard drive. :-P

Kaa

Shang
10-13-2009, 09:40 PM
I for one would be very interested in that, Shang...Could you drop me a line?;)
PH

Phil, check your PM box, I've dropped you a line on this.

Shang
10-13-2009, 09:53 PM
I've got a "better" idea, albeit a very delayed joke.
Transcribe all of Beertie Wooster's adventures in at least 4 languages onto baked clay tablets and bury them in your choice of desert in a tomb-like underground structure. Edit out all evidence of Mr. Woodhouse's* authorship to make them look like actual accounts of a real life.
You can figure out what happens a few thousand years later...

*Sorry PG!

Yes, Sam F, Yes...!
That's why I named one of our cats Cat'sMe'PotterPurrBright, knowing that future historians would go stark-peeing-mad trying to figure that out.

http://www.egyptiandreams.co.uk/images/statues/stone/egyptian_cat_m.jpg

johnw
10-13-2009, 11:15 PM
And that was what the class action suit was all about. You should read up on it. (http://www.law.com/jsp/tal/PubArticleTAL.jsp?id=1202434451266&brGoogle_Books_Scanning_the_Future&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1)



The important part to this all:


I expect it will end up with something like ASCAP. The internet is a disruptive technology, not the least because it's hard to figure out how things get paid for, or even what price should be charged when there's on marginal cost to producing additional copies.

Sam F
10-14-2009, 08:42 AM
Though it's pronounced Woodhouse, it's spelled Wodehouse. My favorite author.

I'm fond of the old boy myself... and spellin' ain't my best subject ya know. :D


By the way, there was a joke on Red Dwarf about a new page of the bible being discovered, intended to go at the beginning. It translated as follows:

"This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

Though Red Dwarf is about a funny as it gets, old jokes do get recycled don't they?
I recall having heard something virtually identical round about 1965.
But then, the "fly speck" joke must be much older...