Evoking images of historic fires at the Library of Alexandria and the Library of Congress, Google co-founder Sergey Brin (pictured, via) delivered a passionate defense of the Google Books project today.
In his NY Times op-ed, the founder described the project as a preservation tool–opening the door for other companies and libraries to digitize their collections. In September, the Department of Justice (DOJ) urged a federal judge to reject the class action settlement in The Authors Guild Inc. et al. v. Google Inc.–postponing the settlement as both sides revise the agreement. For over a year, this case has left the future of Google’s massive database of scanned book titles undecided.
Here’s an excerpt from the op-ed: “[D]espite a number of important digitization efforts to date (Google has even helped fund others, including some by the Library of Congress), none have been at a comparable scale, simply because no one else has chosen to invest the requisite resources. At least one such service will have to exist if there are ever to be one hundred. If Google Books is successful, others will follow.”