I am just reading Professor Robert Darnton’s new book titled ‘The Case for Books’. Darnton is a well know book historian, especially of the French Enlightenment, and made the bold career move to become Harvard’s Librarian. Admittedly ‘the Case for Books’ is not that good, especially for those who have been involved in academic publishing debates for quite some time. In the quest to reach larger audiences, the book appears to have lost some rigour and Darnton’s first-person monologue is a little too personal at times (he should keep a blog). Still, there is a lot of information on the Google Book project, especially as it relates to the looming legal decision in which I am admittedly not on top of.
Here is a initiative from the UK’s JISC (The Joint Information Services Committee) who have attempted to create a ‘social software’ solution for broader public consultation. Almost always these social software solutions do not work (as it the case here) as the sites lack of community feedback. Still there there is an excellent summary of the case and key issues (link to JISC’s site).