Google and the myth of universal knowledge – A Book Review

I am currently reading a book called Google And The Myth Of Universal Knowledge. This is a book written by Jean-Noel Jeanneney – originally in French and translated in English by Teresa Lavender Fagan.

This is a good about the view of an European, who is the president of Bibliotheque Nationale in France. The book focuses on the announcement from Google about an attempt to digitize the content of many books available in many libraries around the world.

I was quite fascinated by it as I am also interested in preserving the content from ancient literature in Tamil, where the writings are all mostly on leaves or metal objects and they tend to erode and degrade over a period of time. I also wanted to get some insight into how learned men and women around the world, with the similar interests are trying to preserve the cultural heritage from their history that they value a lot.

This book has a lot of useful information about the view of Google outside the US. It is also interesting to know how the stand of a private organization, irrespective of the vision or the mission on hand, can be viewed differently by different people based on their interpretations of the end goal.

Update: I have finished reading this book. As I kept reading through the book, I learnt a lot of new things which I did not know before. For eg. the number of countries in which this digitizing effort has already started – including India. I also learnt about the outright rejection by the author about the intentions of Google, irrespective of what they claim to do.

Overall this is a good book to read, by any one who is interested in knowing about Google and its search related future plans on library and books related topics.


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