Monday, June 29, 2009

OUP on Google Book Settlement

Via Evan Schnittman.

There is a very long piece on the Google Settlement by OUP USA President Tim Barton in the Chronicle of Higher Education today.
..What once seemed at least debatable has now become irrefutable: If it's not online, it's invisible. While increasing numbers of long-out-of-date, public-domain books are now fully and freely available to anyone with a browser, the vast majority of the scholarship published in book form over the last 80 years is today largely overlooked by students, who limit their research to what can be discovered on the Internet.

For most books published in the last 10 years or so, the picture is more heartening: University libraries provide students and scholars with access to a fair number of those works via services purchased directly from publishers and aggregators. Excerpts can often be viewed online free (but only as much as is allowed by publishers, with an eye toward generating sales). And many titles are available as e-books. Nonetheless, the vast majority of the scholarship published since 1923 (the date before which titles are in the public domain in the United States) is now effectively out of reach to the modern student.

As one of the world's most prolific scholarly publishers, Oxford views as a core expression of its mission — and the responsibility of all scholarly publishers — the reactivation of publications long sidelined by the restrictions of a print-only existence....

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