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AXSLIB-L  December 2004

AXSLIB-L December 2004


FW: Michael Hart's take on the Google announcement


"Schmetzke, Axel" <[log in to unmask]>


EASI's Library Accessibility Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>


Tue, 21 Dec 2004 16:47:40 -0600





text/plain (420 lines)

Dear Michael Hart,

Thanks for synthesizing the currently available information about the
recently announced Google ebook project, and for your willingness to
incorporate further questions. I wish to add two questions, both of
which pertain to the access of online information by people using
assistive technology:

1.      To which extent is Google considering the needs of people using
assistive technology (such as screen readers) in connection with its
book digitization project?

Further explanation:
The digitization of print material has opened tremendous opportunities
for people with certain disabilities, such as those who are blind are
visually impaired. Digitized text, if made available in an accessible
format (.i.e., ASCII-based text), can be easily accessed with the aid of
assistive technology. For example, specialized software (now sometimes
even incorporated into standard software) can convert ASCII text into
speech or Braille. Judged by your draft answer to question 1 ("What will
the Google Print sites be like?"), it appears that Google has no
intention of providing access to longer stretches of text. This would
violate a very basic principle of accessible web design and exclude
those people who, potentially, could benefit the most.

2.      To which extent are the libraries partnering with Google
violating their own campus policies pertaining to the accessibility of
their institutional web-based resources? 

Further explanation:
Many universities have policies in place that require web pages to be
designed according to certain web accessibility standards. Quite likely,
at least some of the libraries/universities involved (University of
Stanford, Oxford U.K., Harvard) have such a policy in place. (I have
contacted the individual institutions, and I'm waiting for their
responses. Due to the upcoming holidays, this may take a while.)

I would appreciate if you would add these questions to your existing
list. I'd be happy to keep you up-to-date and contribute to their
answers as I gather more information.


Axel Schmetzke, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: * EASI: Equal Access to Software & Information
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ann K. Parsons
Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 12:13 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Michael Hart's take on the Google announcement

Hi folks,

I suggest you read this and then I suggest that you write to Michael
Hart with your questions.  I also suggest that those who are able
write to Google, and that you put some teeth in your questions!  We're
being left out again, completely left out, and Gutenberg isn't even
getting any credit at all!

Ann P.


This message contains most of those questions Project Gutenberg
received about Google Print over the past week, and first draft
answers.  At this time I have not included quotations from some
of reports I have at hand, so if you have any favorites such as
"This is going to change the entire world" sort of thing, email
them to me for inclusion in the final draft.  Added questions &
comments are encouraged.

One week ago Google created the most massive press announcement
ever seen.  I received a phone call that morning from a Project
Gutenberg volunteer to tell me about it, and immediately turned
on the radio and heard the announcement.  No waiting, it was on
right then, and repeated on every news show I listened to.

NPR, NBC, ABC, CBS, BBC all had obviously received the thorough
press releases also being used by most of the print media, none
of which gave any indication of ever having heard of any eBooks
. . .it was as though this were a brand new invention.

No mention of Project Gutenberg, Project Runeberg, The Internet
Public Library, or The Online Book Pages, most of whom had been
available for around a decade, well before Google began, not to
mention the large number of newer eBooks sites now available.

NBC did do a follow up on their Sunday night news, then touting
the Cleveland Public Library as having a 5,000 eBook collection
their patrons could check out online.  No mention of the prices
paid for those eBooks, but I'm guessing the total cost of their
eBook collection sites could be approaching a million dollars.

Still no mention of any of the free eBooks that have now been a
staple on the Internet for over a third of a century, literally
since there were only 100 people on the entire Internet back in
the days before it was even called the Internet.


I'm sure you are nearly all aware of Google's eBook announcement
a week ago today.  Many of you have asked email questions we are
trying to answer for you.

The 7 major types of questions being asked are:

1.  What will the Google Print sites be like?
2.  How many books will there be, and when will they be available?
3.  Is this the first eBook library on the Internet?
4.  What kinds of books are included in these eLibraries?
5.  What about books from other parts of the world?
6.  What about other eLibraries?
7.  What else should we consider for eLibraries?

If you would like to add questions to this list, or modify any of
the questions already listed, please let us know, and we will try
our best to find the answers for you among the dozen of sources.

We have preliminary answers worked up.  If you would be a willing
proofreader or researcher, here they are in the preliminary email
we have prepared over the last week:

Project Googleberg #1

In the 48 hours since the announcement of the "Google Print" project,
I have listened to 6 major network news stories and read, and reread,
the major print media stories in an attempt to answer these following
questions as best I can.  Sometimes it has not been possible to get a
good answer from the information available, and I am either guessing,
or passing on indirect information from others.

1.  What will the Google Print sites be like?

There will actually be at least 6 "Google Print" repositories.  These
will reside at the sites of the six major participants with a central
text-only repository at Google, and five graphics sites, from each of
the five member libraries:  Michigan, Stanford, Oxford U.K., Harvard,
and The New York Public Library.  These five "graphics sites" are the
providers of "pictures" of the books, while the Google site will have
the actual text to match against your search questions.

On the Google search site, there are "true eBooks," meaning the words
have actually been entered into computers as computer characters with
all the normal capabilities of computer characters:  search, reformat
via "cut and paste," quote or email the search results, etc. all with
the usual "point and click" style to which we are accustomed.  But it
appears this site will let you only have a "snippet" of the text your
search has uncovered; I am guessing a few lines at most, probably the
same sort of results you now get from normal Google searches, perhaps
fragmentary, certainly not enough to hold most complete quotations.

Once you find a "hit" you want to pursue, you will be switched to the
library sites, where the full-text copy of the book would be replaced
with a picture file rather than a text file, so no more cut and paste
will be possible, and printouts will be forbidden.  Thus, if you want
a quotation, you'll have to open up another process and type it in at
your own keyboard the same way eBooks were first created over a third
of a century ago.

As I understand it, each of these 6 databases will be the property of
each of the 6 members of the consortium, and will be protected by the
usual DRM, Digital Rights Management, tools.

There has already been much discussion over the "fair use" of sources
such as these, even when their contents are in the public domain.

It is the opinion of Project Gutenberg's CEO that "fair use" should
win over DRM + DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

However, "bypassing DRM, even for public domain content,
might not be treated as fair use, and may in fact be subject
to penalties under the anti-circumvision provisions of the DMCA."

2.  How many books will there be, and when will they be available?

15 million was the number thrown around the most, but I doubt that it
is possible that even this collection of famous libraries should have
enough books that fit the criteria they announced for their worldwide
eBook service:

A.  Public Domain

B.  19th Century

C.  Scannable Editions

(using robotic page scanners, rather than destructive scanning)
[though I did read on one of the Google Print pages, that they
are soliciting books that CAN be destructively scanned.  i.e.
cut the binding off and run through as in a xerox machine.
Obviously this is NOT what is planned for the libraries' books.]

I'm guessing that when they start researching the copyright issues, a
retraction will be made, stating that they have discovered those 19th
Century books might still be under copyright, depending on a lifespan
of the authors.  Some of their most important works, such as Oxford's
"Oxford English Dictionary" might have a few volumes published before
the 20th Century that are still under copyright and thus not eligible
for inclusion in their proposed service, along with many other books.

[Of course this depends on which country the database is placed in,
as the copyright rules for the U.K. are different that in the U.S.]

Obviously, if they are really going to include 15 million books, they
will have to include nearly every public domain book in each of their
5 member libraries, from the rarest to the most common.  I am told by
information science professionals that there have only been just over
30 million copyrights sought in entire history of the United States--
and that includes millions of items besides books.  Doing 15 million,
might then become problematic, as there might not be 15 million total
separate books to work from, even presuming that at least half of the
30 million U.S. copyrights sought between 1790 and 2003 were for book
titles that are now in the public domain.  Obviously not every single
book ever published has made it into these 5 libraries.

The various time frames mentioned have ranged at least from 10 years,
the longest, to 6 years, the shortest, among those I have seen.

Please let me know if you have seen a wider range.

I, myself, would bet they will have to cut some corners to include 10
million books 10 years from the announcement date, December 14, 2014.

3.  Is this the first eBook library on the Internet?

While the reports certainly would give that impression, that a world-
changing event took place on December 14, 2004, with the invention of
eBooks, eLibraries, book scanning, searches of eBooks, etc., it would
be somewhat remiss not to mention that eBooks have been a staple of a
growing Internet since the days when there were only 100 accounts for
the entire Internet population a third of a century ago.

The oldest Internet site on record is Project Gutenberg, the original
eBook site, founded in 1971 at the University of Illinois.  Of course
the original entries were quite small by today's standards, compared,
shall we say to the Bible, War and Peace, The Decline and Fall of the
Roman Empire, or the Complete Shakespeare, but, then again, you would
have to take into account just how "small" computers were in the day.

Today there are already 100,000 freely downloadable eBooks on the Net
for anyone to have; complete full-text editions that people have been
encouraged to download and keep at home at a cost of one cent per 100
books downloaded, or $100 for a drive that would hold 100,000 eBooks.
Of course, some small stack of DVDs would hold 100,000 eBooks in that
same physical space, at a cost of perhaps $2.

4.  What kinds of books are included in these eLibraries?

For the next year or two:

>From what I could tell, Google Print is going in the direction of the
scholarly approach, preserving extremely rare materials that mostly a
scholarly community would be interested in.  The only specific eBooks
I heard proposed were the complete works of Shakespeare, which are on
the Internet today in a variety of different editions and languages--
speaking of languages, I don't recall any mention of any language for
Google Print other than English, though I am certain that each of the
libraries concerned has many non-English volumes.

My guess is that there will be a significant re-evaluation of project
goals, timeline, expense, return on investment, etc., around the time
this project reaches 100,000 books.

As commented above, once they start approaching their 15 million goal
for their collection, virtually every book will have to be included.

Shakespeare was used as an example.

As for Shakespeare, not only has Shakespeare been on the Internet for
over a decade already, but it's already being made available in other
languages than English, as well as at least half a dozen in English.

I would have to guess that most of the famous books of history are on
the Internet already, though I should warn you that it takes only 51%
to make that statement true, and every time we double the book number
we only cut the remaining possible entries by a small fraction.

At least that will be true for the next few years until a majority of
the public domain eBooks are made available.

For the foreseeable future if you want the Complete Stevenson, or the
Complete Shakespeare, or the Complete Dickens, or even those Complete
Lang Fairy Tales in all colors, the best places to go will be:  [39 languages represented]
and   [100+ languages]

If you are in other countries, I also suggest you look up:

Project Runeberg [Scandinavian]
Project Gutenberg of Australia
The Gutenberg Projekt -DE [Germany]
The Internet Public Library
The Online Book Pages
and keep an eye out for:
Project Gutenberg of Europe
Project Gutenberg of Portugal
Project Gutenberg of Canada

I think you will find that if you download all the eBooks from these,
which will only take a fraction of any new hard drive [if you leave a
few like the Human Genome Project and audio books behind]. . .that it
will turn out that you have a retail value in hardbound books of:

$1,000,000  !!!

6.  What about other eLibraries?

Anyone interested in eBooks should look at the following sources:

The Online Books Pages [University of Pennsylvania]
Operated by John Mark Ockerbloom

The Internet Public Library [University of Michigan]
Was operated by David Carter, not sure who runs it now.

Operated by Daniel Moynihan

A Celebration of Women Writers
Operated by Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Before this goes out to the general public,
please feel free to add your own favorites.
[Free sites only, please]

7.  What else should we consider for eLibraries?

If you would like to add questions to this list, or modify any of
the questions already listed, please let us know, and we will try
our best to find the answers for you among the dozen of sources.


So Nice To Hear From You!

Happy Holidays!!!


Give FreeBooks!!!
In 39 Languages!!!

As of December 22, 2004
~14,750 FreeBooks at:
~250 to go to 15,000

We are ~95% of the way
from 10,000 to 15,000.

Now even more PG eBooks
In 104 Languages!!!

Michael S. Hart
<[log in to unmask]>
Project Gutenberg
Executive Coordinator^M
"*Internet User ~#100*"

If you do not receive
a prompt reply, please
resend, keep resending.

gweekly mailing list
[log in to unmask]

                        Ann K. Parsons
email:  [log in to unmask]
"All that is gold does not glitter.
Not all those who wander are lost."  JRRT

Check out EASI New Synchronous Clinics:
EASI Home Page
Online courses  and Clinics
Check the EASI Library Web

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