Press: “The trust conundrum”

Posted by Kenny Whitebloom on April 27, 2011 in Press.

“Simon Barron wrote an interesting article that appeared in yesterday’s Guardian about the trust conundrum when it comes to large collections of digital content.  The catalyst for the article was a plan by Google to delete a bunch of user-contributed videos.  Public outcry caused Google to rethink their plan, but still. If Google – or any for-profit organization — can cavalierly decide to delete an entire collection of videos, would they do the same for books?  Barron doesn’t mention Friendster’s plan to delete a passel of user-created content at the end of May, unless users take the time to go fetch it, but this seems to be a similar type of business decision.  As many people have pointed out, the primary purpose of any for-profit organization is to maximize profits, not to preserve in perpetuity a huge corpus of digital content that increasingly represents a large chunk of our cultural and social heritage.

“This trust conundrum is a huge issue for efforts in Europe, America, and elsewhere to build and sustain national digital libraries, including the DPLA initiative here in the U.S., which currently is getting quite a bit of press attention.  Barron summarizes the longstanding concerns ‘…of allowing a private sector company to control shared cultural resources.’  Placing this trust in a government agency, a foundation, a not-for-profit organization, a consortium of research libraries, or an association carries its own set of risks.  Revolutions, shifting political winds, fiscal constraints, and plain old mismanagement can create crises for a nation’s cultural heritage.”

From Tom Peters’ post on, “The trust conumdrum

Leave a Reply