Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First French partner for Google Book Search

A Thaw in Franco-Google Relations? Google Books Signs First French Library, Library Journal Academic Newswire, July 15, 2008.
... [Google] this week announced that it had signed its 29th library partner for Google Book Search. Google officials announced that the Lyon Municipal Library, France’s second largest library after the national library in Paris, and the project’s first partner in France, has signed on to make more than 500,000 books available online as part of Google’s Book Search Library project.

Under the plan, Google and Lyon will digitize and offer access to out-of-copyrights works, to be searchable through Google Book Search. On the Google blog, Gérard Collomb, senator and mayor of Lyon, said the partnership would “open our library doors to the rest of the world.”

More importantly, perhaps, the partnership suggests a thaw in Franco-Google relations, and comes just a year after Google’s most impassioned international critic, Jean-Noel Jeanneney, left his post as head of the French national library. In 2005, Jeanneney made international headlines with an editorial in Paris-based Le Monde expressing alarm over Google’s original plan to digitize books from five prominent university libraries, saying that the plan would favor Anglo-Saxon ideas and the English language. In 2006, he published Google and the Myth of Universal Access with the University of Chicago Press, in which he posited that Google’s book scanning plan constituted “a risk of crushing domination by America in defining the idea that future generations have of the world.”
See also coverage at The Bookseller.

Update. See also coverage at The Bookseller on why the Lyon library opted to work with Google rather than with France's national digitization program.

Update. See also the post at the Google Book Search blog.