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A good word for Google Books

I don’t often have good things to say about Google – and my general distrust was heightened by the two Google speakers at last week’s Information Industry Summit, who were very bright people who have either drunk the Koolaid and become true believing evangelists for everything that’s online or just been wowed by wonderful salaries and bonuses. The absence of anything in their speeches to suggest critical thinking about the role of Google or online media was glaring, and coming right on the heels of an anti-Internet diatribe, equally unbalanced, from Andrew Keen, author of the Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is Killing Our Culture, I was left feeling again caught between the evangelists and the naysayers. But this morning I found something rather wonderful in Google Books, a 1896 guide to mending all manner of household items called A Manual of Mending and Repairing with Diagrams. This is fun, and useful – though I’m not sure commercially viable if all Google scanned was books like this, and definitely out of copyright. I’m trying to figure out how to sew leather patches on the elbows of my favorite cashmere sweater, and actually haven’t managed to find any good advice on that. But I love this book, and appreciate having it available.

2 thoughts on “A good word for Google Books

  1. Interesting point about Google Books – like old hand tools, a lot of books may appear outmoded at first glance, but when they fill a need they are priceless.

    And poor Kool-Aid, saddled with that association – incorrectly, I believe. I’m rather certain it was actually Flav-R-Aid that was used at Jonestown; I was on the copy desk at the Akron Beacon Journal when that story came over the wire.

    About Super Tuesday, we in Wisconsin (Dems, at least) are ecstatic about the fact that the outcome this week means our state’s Feb. 19 primary will count for something! Even so, it’s just weird to think that a February primary would be considered late in the cycle….

  2. And to think that I am a reference publisher, with books on the list about religion, too, and no doubt a number of articles on Jonestown. There’s a glaring error on my part. Apologies to Kool-Aid!

    Ward, you’ll be glad to hear that a train conductor on the line I take to New York was wearing a Packers pin yesterday. I guess she waited till after the Giants won, though, as I hadn’t seen it before.

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