Googlization of Libraries: Debunking the Internet Godzilla Myth
The Second Follett Lecture, Graduate School of Library and Information Science,
Dominican University, 15 February 2006
Edward J. Valauskas


This paper describes the assumed effects of Google on library and information. It encourages librarians and information specialists to integrate Google into their activities, since Google itself supports a number of information issues related to access and availability of information to broad groups of networked individuals and institutions.


Good evening President Donna Carroll, President Christopher Traut of the Follett Corporation, Dean Roman, colleagues, and students.

It has been an honor and a pleasure to be the Follett Chair in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University. I am very grateful to the Follett Family and the Follett Corporation for enabling me to be part of this wonderful institution, to work with excellent graduate students and with distinguished colleagues, my fellow faculty in the School. Before beginning the Lecture, I’d like to make a brief report on some of my activities.

Over the past year, I have taught a rich variety of classes in the School including Early Books and Manuscripts, History of the Book, Information Policy, Internet Fundamentals and Design, Internet Publishing, and Reference Sources in the Sciences. Students from some of these classes are now librarians at Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Elmhurst College, University of California at San Diego, and other fine institutions in the area and elsewhere in the country. I am especially proud of the students who enrolled in Internet Publishing. In the course of a few semesters, they transformed the School’s print journal, World Libraries, into a Web–based, openly accessible resource. Students in Internet Publishing this semester continue this fine work, and I might call this a new tradition in the School.

I have also had a chance to teach elsewhere. Just a few weeks ago, I taught an enjoyable class on rare botanical books at the University of Chicago’s Graham School of General Studies. I also lectured at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, as part of the festivities around the Plants in Print exhibit, an exhibit of rare books from the collection of the Library at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I am the curator of that exhibit which has toured to Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Botanic Garden. In a few weeks, Plants in Print The Age of Botanical Discovery will be heading to Atlanta and the Atlanta History Center.

I have also worked with a number of foundations over the past year on issues related to openly accessible scholarship. For example, a few weeks ago I was invited to the Ford Foundation in New York to participate in a meeting on the role of scholarship for media reform and media justice.

Finally, I have to mention First Monday, the Web–based scholarly journal, which I founded about ten years ago. Last year, over six million (actually 6,370,396) successful requests for documents were made to First Monday’s servers from over 800,000 (actually 818,462) distinct hosts in 184 different countries. The United States Department of State recognizes 192 independent countries, so we are madly trying to find readers for First Monday in those remaining eight countries. In May, First Monday will celebrate its tenth birthday with a conference on openness in Chicago. The conference will feature interesting papers from around the world and keynote speakers, such as Jimmy Wales, the inventor of Wikipedia, Paul David, of Oxford and Stanford Universities, and Brian Behlendorf, the creator of Apache, the most widely used open Web server software. The conference is made possible by a generous grant of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the support of the Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago. UIC’s Library has been host to First Monday’s servers for the past eight years and the staff at UIC are really working hard to make the conference a success. Additional funding for the conference has been provided by George Soros’ Open Society Institute. These funds will make it possible for more than thirty participants from developing and transition countries. So in summary you might guess that I have been busy as the Follett Chair over the past year!

And now, the 2006 Follett Chair Lecture.

The library community has heard much about Google over the past year, especially its efforts to digitize much intellectual content confined — so to speak — to the pages of books. There has been a great deal of hand–wringing about Google as a sort of corporate Godzilla, threatening libraries and librarians, authors, publishers, and even other corporations like Microsoft. Let us briefly imagine if Godzilla Google really succeeded in fulfilling all of these fears.


It is the year 2015. We are on hand for a press conference at the corner of State and Congress in downtown Chicago. Mayor Jesse Jackson, Jr. announces the creation of the Harold Washington Housing Complex (see Figure 1). The 756,000 square feet of the Harold Washington Library Center have been converted into middle– and low–income housing with store fronts along the first floor. Almost seventy–one miles of shelving have been empty for years because there’s no need to put anything on them. Books, you see, don’t exist in their archaic printed form any more.


Figure 1: The Harold Washington Housing Complex, circa 2015
Figure 1: The imaginary Harold Washington Housing Complex, circa 2015.


In New York City, Mayor Chelsea Clinton announced that the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue will cease being a library (see Figure 2). “That is so archaic,” remarked Mayor Energy (her Secret Service code name was Energy), “and we all carry more than that library houses in plastic around our necks.” The Mayor tugged on a small wafer of plastic, a memory stick loaded with the equivalent of her father’s Presidential Library. The New York Public Library will be converted into a Museum of the Book, with prominent displays for treasures from the collection — the Gutenberg Bible, Ptolemy’s Cosmographia, Shakespeare’s folios, Walt Whitman’s personal copies of Leaves of Grass, and other unique items. A special interactive theatre will allow visitors to the Museum to become part of movies filmed in or around the former Library, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Escape from New York, and the Day After Tomorrow. Mayor Clinton admitted to previewing the theatre and immersing herself in Ghostbusters. She would not admit what she said to the virtual version of Dr/ Peter Venkman — that is, Bill Murray.


Figure 2: The former New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, circa 2015
Figure 2: The former New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, circa 2015.


The United States Congress itself is confused in 2015 over what to do with its Library. There is some talk among Congressional leaders about turning the Jefferson Building into a national museum about American books, since most of the contents of over five hundred miles of shelving have long ago been converted into bytes. Some members of Congress thought the Madison building would function quite well as yet another office building for staff supporting each elected member of the House and Senate. While these debates on the fate of the Jefferson and Madison buildings continue, dust and litter gather around these venerable structures. Few LC staff are around, other than those managing networks and servers providing access to digital information.

How did this happen? What happened to libraries?


Some say the demise of libraries started in 2003 when Google announced that it now provided access to several million WorldCat records from OCLC [1], part of a project to make the collections of libraries more widely known and used, and to reach beyond those digital resources found on the open Web. also announced ‘Search Inside a Book’ [2] so readers can locate specific phrases and other content in over 120,000 books or some thirty–three million pages. Their rationale was openly less altruistic.


Figure 3: Google's Find in a Library
Figure 3: Google’s Find in a Library.



In 2004, over six billion items were accessible via Google, including more than four billion Web pages, nearly a billion images, and nearly a billion Usenet messages. Almost 85 percent of all Internet searches were executed using Google [3]. Google provided neighborhood access with Google Local [4]. Looking for a nearby anchovy pan pizza? Local gave you reviews, maps, directions, and phone numbers. Google also announced Google Scholar (, a means to search the scholarly literature. Scholar provides a way for researchers to examine the collections of specific libraries, Web sites, or publishers for content, searching for citations to specific authors, pointers to obscure phrases, or details once lost in forgotten reports or studies. To attract scholars, it supports a ‘Who’s Cited Who’ feature [5]. Google also announced Gmail, a gigabyte of e–mail storage (this was doubled in 2005 to two gigabtyes or space for up to a million messages) and access to Google’s search technologies for content embedded in electronic mail [6]. Gmail gives advertisers a new way to reach customers. Google provides contextual advertising, so that the content of each e–mail is matched to relevant content [7]. If I write to my brother about fossil dragonflies, and the Rotunda Rock Shop is a Google advertiser, I will see the latest ad as part of my message. And so will my brother. Google insists that this customization is all done by computers. No humanoid at Google really cares about my Jurassic crustaceans!

Google Print appeared in 2004. Google agreed initially to work with the New York Public Library as well as the libraries of the University of Michigan and Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford Universities (quickly labeled the Google Five) to digitize portions of their collections at a cost of about $10 per book [8]. Reaction was mixed.

University of California at Berkeley professor John Battelle remarked that Google’s project has big implications. “The idea that the world’s knowledge, as held through books and libraries, is opening up to all via a Web browser cannot be understated,” he says. “People will find books they never knew existed.” [9]

The idea of making out–of–print books available seemed like a great idea to author Avery Corman. His latest novel, A Perfect Divorce, appeared in 2004. But six prior books, including Oh, God! and Kramer vs. Kramer, have been out of print for years. When a book is no longer in print, “It’s like it’s disappeared into a black hole,” he noted. “The only place anybody can read them is at the library. If this helps get the book to more people, I’m all for it.” [10]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation supported Google’s efforts as well as Chris Travers, CEO of Travers remarked “Change is coming, and it won’t be good for everybody,” he said, “but those who embrace it have a better chance of succeeding.”

But others were not so happy and the Authors’ Guild filed suit. At the time, American Library Association President-elect Michael Gorman, in an op–ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, stated “The books in great libraries are much more than the sum of their parts. They are designed to be read sequentially and cumulatively, so that the reader gains knowledge in the reading.” [11] Observant bloggers note that most digitized books actually are read online sequentially and cumulatively [12]. Bloggers call Gorman “tiresome, pedantic,” and at least one blogger wished online that there should be a way to recall Gorman from ALA’s presidency [13].

Google’s initial public offering tendered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share [14]. Eighty–five dollars would seen a bargain.


The ‘Search Inside a Book’ feature from Amazon was expanded into Amazon Pages, which unbundled content from its containers [15]. Need just a few pages from a 403–page text? With Amazon Pages, you can just purchase a handful of pages instead of an entire work. Amazon Upgrade gives you access to digital versions of books when you purchase their printed counterparts [16]. If I’m the road, I don’t have to lug a hypertext manual to help me with markup, I can just access it online anywhere I have a connection to the Web. “Amazon Pages and Amazon Upgrade leverage Amazon’s existing Search Inside the Book technology to give customers unusual flexibility in how they buy and read books,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO, “In collaboration with our publishing partners, we’re working hard to make the world’s books instantly accessible anytime and anywhere.” [17]

Google News, which originally appeared in 2002, became the world’s preferred source for news by the end of 2005. With over 4,500 English language news sources around the world, updated every fifteen minutes, Google News provided personalized news based on your own history of searching and news selection [18]. Google News is organized entirely by computers, without human intervention. In 2005, there are versions of Google News available for twenty different countries.

Yahoo acquired Flickr [19], a site that helps Web users to share digital photos over the Web, and, social bookmarking for the masses [20]. Flickr itself had evolved in 2004 out of Game Neverending, a massive multiplayer online game [21]. allowed its users to share and tag Web bookmarks, providing a means to trade bookmarks with friends and access one’s bookmarks from any Web browser. Link blogs became abundant, collections of hyperlinks on themes, Internet phenomenon, or memes, appear and vanish fueled in part by and other networking programs. Microsoft, threatened by Google and Yahoo’s advances, tried to stem the tide of former employees heading off to Palo Alto (headquarters of Google) and Sunnyvale (headquarters of Yahoo) in California [22].

Both Google and Yahoo provided, in their own ways, support for China’s government. In 2005, Shi Tao, a reporter, was arrested for allegedly releasing internal Communist Party documents on the Internet. He was sentenced to ten years in jail; Yahoo provided the government technical information which assisted in its claims against Tao [23].

An open coalition appeared late in 2005 to counter Google Book Search, formerly known as Google Print. Organized by Brewster Kahle, father of the WAIS protocol and the Internet Archive, the Open Content Alliance appears on the scene [24]. With support from Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo, the Research Libraries Group, and others, the Alliance began to digitize collections in the libraries of the University of California, Berkeley. Estimated cost for this effort was about ten cents a page; graduate students provided the labor. The Alliance promised to make its content free and intended to work solely with out–of–print items to avoid legal troubles. Brewster attended the meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information in Phoenix and described a plan to work with research libraries around the country in digitizing content in a matter of a decade. His call to arms asked librarians and libraries to work together in a modern version of NASA’s mission to the Moon to digitize collections openly, to prevent them from falling into corporate hands. Librarians at the Coalition’s meeting barely responded to Brewster’s impassioned speech, and seemed relieved when the program moved to more mundane topics.

The European Commission funded a response to Google Book Search entitled Europeana, a large–scale digitization effort based on the collections of nineteen national libraries [25]. France’s National Library president Jean–Noël Jeanneney admitted that the initial announcement of Google Print was a “shock” and a call for action in Europe [26]. Massive digitization of libraries appeared to be moving on multiple fronts by the end of 2005.

By the way, ALA President Michael Gorman spoke out at the 2005 Online Information Conference in London in an obvious attempt to attract further attention from bloggers, librarians, publishers, and the general public. He declared that “we don’t need e–journals”, Google’s efforts at digitization were a “mistake” and “an enormous waste of money.” [27]

By the end of 2005, Google market capitalization equals 127 billion, making it one of the biggest media companies on the planet [28]. Rumors abound that Google will be included in the S&P 500.


In 2006, Google admits that it is filtering certain content on, content available on other flavors of Google [29]. On February 14, 2006, Internet users organize an online protest, to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the search engine’s cooperation with the Chinese government [30].

Now for fiction.

In federal court in Washington, D.C., Judge Gladys Kessler rules in favor of Google. Agence France–Presse (AFP) sues Google over its harvesting of headlines, leads, and photos from AFP’s Web site. Google argues that the headlines and leads were factual and not copyrightable. The decision sends a ripple of cheers on blogs and a nearly audible sigh of relief from Web–based news aggregators. AFP promises to appeal to the highest court.

Google announces its long anticipated Web browser, Gbrowser. Gbrowser includes access to five gigabytes of storage to save content and provides Glink, a means to link content, bookmarks, and e–mail to colleagues and friends. Gbrowser is freely available and within six months becomes the number one Web browser on the planet, supplanting Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Mozilla, and all others.

Google finally settles its lawsuits with the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, and others. In a complex scheme of micropayments, authors and publishers will receive a mill for each page viewed from their copyrighted work secured via Google Book Search. The public scrambles to discover the meaning of a mill, which is one/thousandth of a U.S. dollar. The mill was initially created in 1786 by Congress and is described in the U.S. Coinage Act of 1792. Google agrees to pay this access fee when it has reached a certain boundary, defined as $27.182 for a given work. Insiders comment on Google’s mathematical joke as e = 2.718281828. This number had appeared at least once before in official Google documents as a target for its initial IPO — that is to raise $2,718,281,828 [31]. In any case, a given work would have been accessed about 30,000 times in a year to reach this level, officially called the Glimit. Google estimates that only a handful of works will cross the Glimit and decides to pay the fees from advertising and other revenues, and not to pass along the cost to consumers.

Fujitsu releases its digital paper [32], essentially a foldable, bendable, screen that acts like paper but actually hooks up wirelessly to computing devices. Sheets of this paper can fill a wall, or act as Post–its®. Google immediately begins to work with Fujitsu on Google Book Search products, to allow readers to read an entire book while carrying only a single sheet of paper.


Microsoft decides to scrap its search engine MSN Search and concentrate on news in its on–going relationship with NBC. Microsoft concedes the search engine market to Google, and aims to compete with Google News by providing personalized news services based on real journalists, not computers.

Yahoo as well concedes traditional searching to Google, and releases its social networking program, YouToo, on the Web. The freely downloadable software works like a Web browser and allows you to create social networks on the fly, linking digital information and individuals around the world with a few mouse clicks.

In June the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the 2006 decision of Judge Gladys Kessler in the case of Google vs. Agence France–Presse (AFP). Justice John Roberts’ supports his opinion merely quoting Stewart Brand’s remarks written two decades earlier, “Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine — too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, ‘intellectual property’, the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better.”


Digitization accelerates as the European Community announces that the national libraries of France, Denmark, Latvia, and Lithuania are completely accessible openly on the Internet. European Commission president Johnny Hallyday exclaims that a new day is dawning, where libraries will re–assert themselves with their collections, rather than surrender them to corporations. A competition is brewing with Google and the Open Content Alliance representing many libraries, publishers, and authors in the Western hemisphere, and the European Community representing national, academic, and public libraries throughout Europe.

Google Book Search provides access to over ten million scholarly books and journals, while the Open Access Alliance gives away thumb drives and other portable devices with the contents of all of the libraries in the University of California System. Software simply called the Librarian allows you to search the contents of these drives for specific phrases, authors, or references. Apple sells iLib, a new portable device to access digital content from libraries, including music, films, photos, and books.


Linden Labs, the creators of Second Life (, a virtual world with over ten million inhabitants, announces that its virtual libraries will contain content from the Open Content Alliance and the European Commission. Given that anyone born after 1980 has at least one avatar (an avatar is an icon or representation of a user in a virtual world [33], it is derived from a Sanskirt word meaning descent, and in Hinduism it refers to incarnations of Vishnu [34]) and spends on average four hours a day in second life and other virtual worlds, this announcement comes as no surprise. Second Life has more servers than Google. The newly founded Virtual Library Association has more members, that is avatars, than the American Library Association. Avatar librarians provide reference assistance online as well tips on accessing content of virtual libraries. Many library schools offer classes on avatar reference, information mechanics, search engine diagnostics, social networking, and avatar creation. The Virtual Library Association provides accreditation for online programs.


The Government Printing Office admits that 94 percent of all government information is born digital and used solely in a digital state, up from 50 percent estimated at the end of 2004 [35]. GPO long ago digitally distributed documents to depository libraries, selected agencies, and certain individuals. The Office, in a bold announcement, will make all of its documents available online, and will provide documents on demand over the Web or to citizens on government issued portable storage devices. The last printed federal document appears on the first Monday of July, 2010, 5 July.


The New York Times and selected other newspapers decide not to publish online, deciding to cut off one source of information for Google News. The print editions appeal to a select and older audience, largely those over 60; publishers collaborate to reduce costs. Only a handful of journalism schools still exist, and one Dean of a closing school tells prospective students to study avatar anatomy and information mechanics instead.


Traffic to libraries continues to decline, as more digital information is made available from a variety of sources. Internet connectivity worldwide is inexpensive and widely available in hundreds of languages. Apple sells fifty million of its iNodes, a combination of wireless Internet technologies, with cell phones, and music. All iNodes include text translation software, personal and customizable avatars, and 200 terabytes of storage, sufficient space for the collections of the Library of Congress.


The number of avatars born in virtual worlds equals the number of real people born each year, or about eighty million avatars appear in various virtual worlds in 2013. Most of the research collections in the Western hemisphere and Europe are available digitally. The average amount of time spent with a computing device averages 8.4 hours per day [36]; television and radio in their traditional forms no longer exist. Books, newspapers, magazines, and journals are in print only for shrinking audiences who can pay the costs of publishing and shipping.


Google acquires Amazon, OCLC, the Research Libraries Group, the San Jose Calif. Mercury News, and the U.S. Government Printing Office, forming gInfo, a non–profit service online. Congress recognizes that Google can more efficiently distribute government information than anyone else. Microsoft, Adobe, the Open Content Alliance, and others file suit. The case is settled quickly in Google’s favor by a unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.


With the migration of library services online, and the rapid deployment of librarians as avatars, libraries in the real world are closed, recycled, or torn down. Print collections find some source of income on eBay, except for those items in special collections and archives. Michael Gorman, reminds us from his own blog at a retirement facility in Palm Springs that he warned librarianship about the dangers of digitization a decade ago. Only the bloggers cared, he noted.

Does Google’s digitization of libraries really have to mean the end of libraries as we know them? I think not. Google indeed is doing librarians a huge favor, stimulating discussion about the fate of much of the world’s printed information. Given the decreasing costs of storage, the increasing ease of digitization, and the demand for more content online, it is important that Google decided to bring this issue to the forefront. Google in a way is taking a lot of flack for libraries and librarians on a number of issues such as copyright. Google has enormous financial and legal resources to appropriately address the concerns of publishers and authors to come up with a reasonable and fair solution for all parties.

Why not digitize? Digital books will never replace real books and journals, newspapers and magazines. In fact, digital books will only stimulate an interest in print. We only have to look at the success of the National Academies Press, the publishing arm of the National Academy of Science, to understand how digital stimulates print [37].

Libraries indeed can work to bring back to life works that have gone out–of–print. For example, REFORMA — the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish–Speaking ( — worked with BookSurge, an company that essentially creates books on demand, to make available again Pura Belpré’s classic Pérez and Martina, originally published by Viking in 1942. Pérez and Martina was named one of the 100 best books of the twentieth century by the New York Public Library. Belpré was the first Latina librarian in the New York Public Library, and wrote over a dozen books for children. Ten percent of each book sale of Pérez and Martina go to the Belpré Endowment Fund [38].

Libraries indeed could organize in much the way that Brewster Kahle suggested at the Coalition for Networked Information meeting. Brewster and his supporters are already working on the collections at Berkeley. Similar digitization centers could be set up in key parts of the country to begin regional digitization of significant collections in the area. For example, a digitization center in the Chicago area could concentrate on the unique holdings of many of the academic, public, and special libraries in the region. If you think about the collections at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, altogether there are fourteen million items ready for digitization. If you concentrate on out–of–print and unique material, as well as allow for duplication between the collections, the number of items ready for digitization will drop off to seven million. There are some unique collections in the area in the Chicago Public Library and its branches, in many of the public libraries in the suburbs, and in special collections such as the Newberry Library (includes 1.5 million printed titles and five million manuscript pages), and the libraries of the Field Museum, Morton Arboretum, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. We indeed might have ten million items.

Of course, duplication would be a big issue. We would have to work to reduce the amount of digital duplication of more recent items printed say after 1800, and concentrate on older and more unique materials first. I certainly would be interested in comparing a digital version of Theophrastus’ first book, initially published in 1483. There is a copy of this work at the Chicago Botanic Garden (Figure 4) and another copy at the University of California at Berkeley. Having several digital versions of very rare works would have significant research value — well at least to me!


Figure 4: Theophrastus 1483
Figure 4: The last two printed pages of Theophrastus’ Historia plantarum; De causis plantarum, published in Treviso by Bartholomaeus Confalonerius, completed 20 February 1483 (image courtesy of the Lenhardt Library at the Chicago Botanic Garden).


We need of course to have personnel to do this sort of work. We now offer in the School at Dominican University courses on the history of the book, early books and manuscripts, descriptive bibliography, and archives. We need to link these courses more closely to new technologies. To some small degree, I am already playing with new technologies in at least one class. Students in a recent history of the book class worked on the Gutenberg Bible. They actually took it home! They worked with the Library of Congress copy of Gutenberg’s Bible, a beautifully preserved vellum printing. The Bible is featured on two compact disks created by an Oakland, Calif firm called Octavo ( Octavo uses special photographic equipment to shoot books like the Bible at a resolution of ten thousand dots per inch. With Adobe Acrobat, you can focus on the most minute details on each page, read a translation, or follow a commentary. I am particularly excited about the prospects of bringing students into closer content with the Alliance’s work as well as Octavo’s impressive efforts, working with special collections around the world. It may be difficult to bring special digitization equipment to Dominican — the cost of Octavo’s special digitization laboratory is a little less than one hundred thousand dollars — but there may be ways for students to work on special projects with the Alliance and Octavo — special field work — so to speak.

There are other digitization centers appearing elsewhere, quite close really. At the University of Chicago, there is an on–going project to digitize four hundred first and early editions of Frédéric Chopin, an effort called Chopin Early Editions ( One of my students is already at work in this project this semester.


Figure 5: Chopin Early Editions
Figure 5: Opening page of Chopin Early Editions (


Libraries not only have to digitize their valuable printed resources, but begin to create brand new digital resources. We already have an example of this effort here at Dominican with the transformation of World Libraries ( from a print journal to an openly accessible online journal. Before student involvement in World Libraries, a number of students helped me with First Monday. Some alums of the Internet Publishing class continue to help me with First Monday.

It certainly would be possible to develop a little industry in the School and University, converting books and journals into digitally accessible works. It would be an exciting, practical experience for the students, and I must say that I would find it thrilling for World Libraries and First Monday to have many digital children on the Web.

Given the enormous numbers of individuals in virtual worlds, it would also be appropriate for exploration of this arena. One estimate claims that one in five individuals in the United States play computer games or participates in virtual activities [39]. A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be at a meeting at the MacArthur Foundation on virtual worlds, and several speakers talked about the educational and research opportunities in Second Life. Second Life ( is a virtual world with thousands of residents, creating and building almost everything in this space. Powered by over hundreds of computers, residents in Second Life come from around the world.

Libraries indeed might be grateful to Google for making digitization an issue, and invoking the legal wrath of publishers and authors. Google’s efforts at settling much of the legal boundaries will only make it that much easier for librarians to make their collections more widely available to diverse audiences. Libraries have enormous license to make out–of–print and unique works available for “private study, scholarship, and research” based on a casual reading of Section 108 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code [40].

As Ken Crews so ably demonstrated in his book Copyright, Fair Use, and the Challenge for Universities [41], the chilling effect of a variety of lawsuits by publishers over the past few decades have intimidated librarians and their institutions. Google, and to some degree the Open Content Alliance, are trying to clear the air. We must be ready with new professionals, trained in a variety of professional skills, for the next decade. They need to be fearless in their use of digital tools, bringing to the stage set by Google the values of libraries and librarians in making information as accessible as possible. Because in the end, Godzilla Google, is really on our side.


1. Barbara Quint. “OCLC project opens WorldCat records to Google.” (27 October 2003). (accessed 5 September 2011).

2. “Search Inside the Book launched October 23, 2003.” (accessed 5 September 2011).

3. “At its peak in early 2004, Google handled upwards of 84.7% of all search requests on the World Wide Web through its website and through its partnerships with other Internet clients like Yahoo!, AOL, and CNN.” From “History of Google.” (accessed 5 September 2011).

4. Google Local is defined as “Local listings service, before it was integrated with mapping. The merged service was then called Google Local, which was further renamed to Google Maps due to popular demand. Google Local still exists, but only for Google Mobile Search.” See “List of Google products.” (accessed 5 September 2011).

5. See (accessed 5 September 2011).

6. “Google gets the message, launches Gmail.” 1 April 2004. (accessed 5 September 2011).

7. “All major free webmail services carry advertising, and most of it is irrelevant to the people who see it. Google believes that showing relevant advertising offers more value to users than displaying random pop–ups or untargeted banner ads. In Gmail, users will see text ads and links to related pages that are relevant to the content of their messages. The links to related pages are similar to Google search results, and are culled from Google’s extensive index of web pages. They are selected solely for their helpfulness and are not paid advertisements.

“In Gmail, ads appear alongside messages, in the same way that ads appear next to search results on Google. Ads are clearly identified as ‘Sponsored Links.’ They are displayed in a way that doesn’t interrupt users as they read their messages and ads are never inserted into the body text of either incoming or outgoing Gmail messages.

Ads and links to related pages only appear alongside the message that they are targeted to, and are only shown when the Gmail user, whether sender or recipient, is viewing that particular message. No email content or other personally identifiable information is ever shared with advertisers. In fact, advertisers do not even know how often their ads are shown in Gmail, as this data is aggregated across thousands of sites in the Google Network.” (Emphasis in original). From (accessed 5 September 2011).

8. “Google Books Library Project.” (accessed 5 September 2011).

9. Jefferson Graham. “Google’s library plan ‘a huge help’.” USA Today (14 December 2004). (accessed 5 September 2011).

10. See (accessed 5 September 2011).

11. Michael Gorman. “Google and God’s mind.” Los Angeles Times. (17 December 2004). (accessed 5 September 2011).

12. See, for example, (accessed 5 September 2011).

13. Rachel Singer Gordon. “NextGen: Revenge of the NextGen People.” Library Journal (15 May 2005). (accessed 5 September 2011).

14. “Google Inc. prices initial public offering of Class A common stock” 18 August 2004. (accessed 5 September 2011).

15. Greg Levine. “Bezos’ to sell books by the page.” 4 November 2004. (accessed 5 September 2011).

16. Gary Price, 2005. “Forthcoming ‘Amazon Pages’ & ‘Amazon Upgrade’ programs to sell books in electronic format.” Search Engine Watch. (3 November 2005) (accessed 5 September 2011).

17. See (accessed 5 September 2011(.

18. “Google News customization.” 10 March. (accessed 5 September 2011).

19. Jim Hu, 2005. “Yahoo buys photo–sharing site Flickr.” CNET News. 18 March 2005. (accessed 5 September 2011).

20. “Yahoo acquires social network” USA Today. 11 December 2005. (accessed 5 September 2011).

21. “Flickr.” Wikipedia. (accessed 5 September 2011).

22. “Troubling exits at Microsoft.” BusinessWeek. 26 September 2005. (accessed 5 September 2011).

23. Rebecca MacKinnon. “Shi Tao, Yahoo!, and the lessons for corporate social responsibility.” 30 December 2007. (accessed 5 September 2011); Robert Marquand. “Yahoo, Chinese police, and a jailed journalist.” Christian Science Monitor. 9 September 2005. (accessed 5 September 2011).

24. Katie Hafner. “In challenge to Google, Yahoo will scan books.” New York Times. 3 October 2005. (accessed 5 September 2011).

25. Katharina de la Durantaye. “Finding a home for orphans: Google Book Search and orphan works law in the United States and Europe.” Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal 21, no. 2 (2011). (accessed 5 September 2011).

26. Robert MacMillan. “Google unites Europe.” Washington Post. 29 April 2005. (accessed 5 September 2011).

27. Carol Tenopir. “Online Databases: The Value of the Container.” Library Journal. 1 February 2006. (accessed 5 September 2011).

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39. Amanda Lenhart, Sydney Jones, and Alexandra Rankin Macgill. “Video games: Adults are players too.” Pew Research Center. 7 December 2008. (accessed 5 September 2011).

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About the author

Edward J. Valauskas was the second Follett Chair in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University from 2004 to 2007. He is currently Lecturer in the School at Dominican. He is also Chief Editor and Founder of the peer–review, open access journal First Monday ( Finally, Edward is Curator of Rare Books at the Lenhardt Library of the Chicago Botanic Garden.
E–mail: ejv [at] dom [dot] edu.