Google’s Digitizing Irks Europeans

By Deane Barker on May 5, 2005

Fearing for literary legacy, Europeans to counter Google book plan: I thought this was just the French, according on an article I read a few months ago. But now, apparently, they’re all pissed.

For Europeans, the fear is that the continent’s contribution to the pillars of recorded knowledge will be crushed by a profit-oriented California company — and may end up presenting a U.S.-centric version of the world’s literary legacy.

The only solution is for the Europeans to plow ahead as well. What’s the alternative — for the U.S. to slow down?



  1. Considering the US is an amaglam of the world for the most part, I think its about time to leave the xenophobia behind.

  2. Er, not all of us. The Google project involves four universities – Stanford, Harvard, University of Michigan, and Oxford. That’s Oxford, England. “Special relationship” aside, we were still part of Europe last time I checked!

    I think the key point here is that some non-English-speaking countries are feeling threatened (again) by the popularity of English online. To be honest, if the proportions were reversed (2% of the internet was in English and 90% French) I’d probably be pissed too.

    That said, if the Google project spurs the formation of a publicly-funded EU project to digitize and upload the libraries of nineteen countries (as well as lots of Gallic hot air), I think the overall outcome is pretty positive, isn’t it?

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