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Digitize, Democratize: Google, Libraries, and the Future of Books

The legal battles surrounding Google Book Search raise basic questions about the digital future facing all of us—not just authors and publishers but ordinary readers and everyone concerned with access to information. Research libraries should have a say in shaping that future. Digitization gives them an opportunity to democratize knowledge by opening their collections to the outside world. But how can they share their intellectual wealth when commercial firms want to market it? What will be the place of printed books in a world where most works will be “born digital” and read in new ways by “digital natives”? Libraries are developing strategies to cope with these issues, which are vital to our country’s future and deserve widespread discussion before the general public.

Event: 2009-2010 Kritikos Lecture
Speaker: Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library
Title: Digitize, Democratize: Google, Libraries, and the Future of Books
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2009

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