Google's Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars

Geoffrey Nunberg, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Aug 26, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Granted, the metadata in Google Scholar isn't close to perfect. But what Geoffrey Nunberg fails to show - after numerous paragraphs detailing the flaws - is why Google owes it to academic researchers to "at a minimum, licens(e) the catalogs of the Library of Congress and OCLC Online Computer Library Center and incorporat(e) them into the search engine so that users can get accurate results when they search on various combinations of dates, keywords, subject headings, and the like." He argues, simply, "every great public good implies a great public trust." There may be many more cost-effective ways of producing reliable metadata - such as, say, harvesting the efforts of the very scholars who are taking advantage of this free resource.
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