The ridiculous step.

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“Google brought books to life—instead of reading through survey texts, I could search for footnotes, which led me to more precise titles, which led to still others and others, in much the same way that we navigate the Web using hyperlinks. Eventually, of course, I had to drag myself to the library to pick up physical copies of the works in question—a step that I considered ridiculous. I would gladly have paid Google and the authors for the right to electronically review the books and papers, but there was no way to do so.”

Farhad Manjoo, “Your Search Returned 12 Million Books”.

A sign of the times; I’ve suggested this previously, but I’ll do it again. Academic libraries need to figure out digital delivery of books, and soon. If Google or Amazon or somebody else does it better and easier, the library ‘market share’ will erode. If somebody manages to do it for ‘free’ (ad-driven, or otherwise), then we’re sunk.

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