Fuck the system? We made it!


img via alshepmcr

This morning was sort of surreal. The UL here was talking about all the great stuff this campus is doing with Google Books and how Hathi Trust is a major step forward towards access. Then Brewster Kahle from the Internet Archive pointed out the Hathi Trust isn’t as open as it could be, even going so far as likening it to Elsevier and Lexis Nexus. His point? We, libraries and librarians, helped created and empower the Elseviers and Lexises. They’re our own monsters which we pay lots of money to. So we’ve created and enabled the system which fucks us. It’s like Frankenstein.

What’s the solution? Clearly smashing the system ain’t going to work. Thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Fuck the system? We made it!”

  1. Why won’t smashing the system work? Sure, it would be a nightmare for a while, but it’s often easier and cheaper to tear it down and rebuild than to try and remodel. Really, the main question would be are we capable of rebuilding without relying too heavily on the old plans?

  2. Chris, Kahle had more nuance and depth to his argument. He didn’t say that Hathi Trust was all bad, just that it could have been much better. If the content is all in the public domain, why are they putting restrictions on access and download? HT is providing access, but they seem to still be figuring it out and they could have been more progressive and help push limits rather than being so conservative, especially since copyright is not an issue.

    Alex, I think you hit the nail on the head. HT is really steeped in old models and traditional thinking about access on a one-to-one level, when it could have opted from something radically new. It’s just enabling the current system.

  3. Isn’t the issue the contracts that the libraries agreed to with Google? Some of them were seriously foolish (not naming names of certain Ivy League schools).

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