Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

More on the French response to the Google library project

Andy Carvin, Chirac Declares War on Google Library Project, Digital Divide Network, March 22, 2005. Excerpt: 'There is no such thing as scarcity when it comes to how much information you can put online. It's not like there are only 100 terabytes of available space on the Internet that will eventually run out, preventing others from publishing content....So President Chirac, please go ahead and encourage Francophone libraries to put their collections online. But don't stop there. Encourage individuals and their communities to become content creators and citizen journalists as well. Encourage French universities to adopt open courseware initiatives, and fund French nonprofits to create community media portals like the new Ourmedia project. Bankroll Francophone nations in Africa to make sure their enormous wealth of cultural content can go online, as can their people, with the skills to become content creators in their own right. Please, go ahead and do all of those things. But don't frame this as a cultural war or counter-offensive against "Anglo-Saxon" Internet culture; giving all cultures the opportunity to share their knowledge, wisdom, literature and history via the Internet will benefit everyone, whether they speak English, French, Arabic, Vietnamese or Wolof. The war shouldn't be against English-language domination. It should be against ignorance, illiteracy and attempts to control who has access to knowledge. By that standard, the Google library project is hardly an enemy; rather, it's one of the best allies we have.'