Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A Great Leap Forward

"Google, the operator of the world's most popular Internet search service, announced today that it had entered into agreements with some of the nation's leading research libraries and Oxford University to begin converting their holdings into digital files that would be freely searchable over the Web." John Markoff & Edward Wyatt, Google Is Adding Major Libraries to Its Database, New York Times (online), Dec. 14, 2004.

I propose that Google be designated an eleemosynary institution and that Congress mandate that donations to Google be made tax-deductible.

This is truly a great leap forward. Think of all the people in remote corners of the world -- in Columbus, Ohio, for example -- who will be able to access Stanford University's library materials -- and Stanford's reputation, by reason of its generosity, will soon outpace Harvard's. (Harvard is making only 40,000 volumes available online -- "initially." [Harvard, I suppose, is hedging its bets.])