Google Print continues to excite comment. Damien Mulley came out against Google Print today quoting Dave Winer’s argument that it should be opt-in, not opt-out. I disagree. If Google had taken that approach to websites, they would never have become the useful resource they are now. This also misses the point that for the majority of out-of-print books, no-one is sure who owns the copyright, so who would opt the book in?
Google themselves wrote an article about Google Print today demonstrating just useful a site Google Print will be for the preservation of public domain books. More than that, Google Print will revolutionise historical research as researchers will now be able to search books, long since out of print, held in libraries on other continents.
Google are not a charity, they will obviously profit from doing this, but so will the rest of us.
Here’s an example date limited search: Heliocentric to give you an idea of the kinds of texts currently available – many hundreds of thousands more are to be added.