Press: “Robert Darnton Promises Digital Public Library by 2013”

Posted by Kenny Whitebloom on April 3, 2012 in Press.

“Scholar and Harvard University librarian Robert Darnton vowed that the Digital Public Library of America, a nonprofit, nationwide effort to digitize and offer access to millions of free, digitized books and special collections would launch by April of 2013. ‘I make this promise to you,’ Darnton said at the close of his talk, entitled ‘Digitize, Democratize: Libraries and the Future of Books’: ‘We will get this done.’

“Darnton made his remarks as the featured speaker at the 25th Annual Horace S. Manges Lecture, hosted by the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School. The lectured offered a fascinating look at the history of copyright and the book trade, dating back to its roots in Europe, through the founding fathers, the building of libraries of America, and the recent travails surrounding Google’s digitization plan. The primary tension, Darnton noted, was between ‘democratization and commercialization.’ He acknowledged that commercial interests need to be respected, but said the issue today, in an age when we have the ability and the technology to offer broad access to culture, is ‘how we can find just equilibrium.’ Darnton spoke of the controversial Google plan to scan library shelves as a case in point. He said the program began as a ‘great idea,’ but in its ultimately failed legal settlement, it become a commercial library, with no public oversight, or public purpose.”

From Andrew Albanese’s post on Publishers Weekly, Robert Darnton Promises Digital Public Library by 2013

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