Some libraries reject Google’s offer to digitize book collections

On October 22, The New York Times ran a front page article about several large research libraries’ rejection of Google’s offer to scan and digitize large portions of their collections. The Boston Public Library, University of Connecticut and the University of Massachusetts are among several of New England’s largest libraries to refuse the offer.

Instead, many of these libraries are working with an organization called Open Content Alliance to make “…the material available to any search service…”, and not just limited to Google, who forbids libraries to make their collections available to other commercial search services when Google scans the materials.

Is this a mistake? Does it matter who is providing the service as long as patrons (aka students, faculty, staff) get the material they need? Or, as the refusing libraries counter, does this provide an alternative to Google and ensure that material is openly available and access is unhindered by corporate restrictions set by one search service?

Give us your thoughts and post a comment.

Do you know why you use the search engine you do?

Do you use Google for your web searches? Yahoo! search? Windows Live search? Why do you prefer the one you use?

The Google Operating System Blog recently polled its readers about which search they prefer. The twist was that they had users perform searches using each service in a modified form, so that is was impossible to tell (based on appearance) which search was which. Preferences were (theoretically) based purely on search results. You can read the original post, and the poll results. Google won with 1041 votes, followed by Windows Live with 711 and Yahoo! with 604. (Users were allowed to vote for more than one if they felt that the search results were equally good.)

This poll isn’t scientific, and there are numerous flaws with the methodology, but it raises some interesting questions. Google searches account for about 53% of all searches performed (see Search Engine Watch). This falls in line roughly with the results of this poll, but not with the public perception that we “google” everything. The poll results are also surprising given the Google-centricity of the blog: Google won, but not by a lot.

So, why do you use the search engine you do? Convenience? Ease of use? Quality? Force of habit? Format?

Why not take a few minutes to try out some other search engines and think about what you like? Try a visual search like KartOO or check up the updated features on If you decide to stick with your old search engine, what makes it a better engine for you?

The Frontiers of Space: Where will we be in the next ten years?

On October 18th we are fortunate to have astrophysicist, Dr. Joel Primack, presenting on the future of space exploration. A leading cosmologist and member of the National Research Council’s Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee (BEPAC), Dr. Primack will appear in Milne 104 at 7:00 PM on October 18th to discuss BEPAC’s conclusions, which were released September 5, 2007.

Before 2004, NASA’s Beyond Einstein program comprised ambitious missions to explore cosmological questions such as the nature of dark energy, all of which were infinitely postponed when NASA’s emphasis shifted to the Moon and Mars. Under pressure from Congress, BEPAC was formed to advise on how to restart the program. Primack will explain the report’s proposed strategy for continued U.S. exploration of the universe.

For more information, check out our heavens above website at

How is this related to the Hubble Space Telescope and why should you care about space exploration? Take a few minutes to watch this video and learn more about what this extraordinary space observatory has taught us about our world and universe. Then imagine how much more we can learn if we continue our quest with the technologies being developed today.

The Hubble Deep Field: The most important image ever taken


Earth Science Week

Earth Science Week is October 14 to 21, 2007.

This week is the tenth annual “Earth Science Week.” The goal of Earth Science Week is to increase public awareness of earth science in education and society. This year’s theme is “The Pulse of Earth Science.”

To celebrate, have a look at some great Earth Science resources available from Milne Library and on the Web:

Or you can catch up on some earth science related news:

And just for fun:

And the winner is . . .

Congratulations go to William Sankey, winner of the Hubble Scavenger Hunt! As it turns out, William was the first student to complete the gameboard after his tour through the library’s physical collections and online resources. We hope that William’s winnings came in handy over Fall Break and that he learned just a little bit more about the amazing Hubble Space Telescope.

Do you fileshare? Don’t get caught by the RIAA!!

Jaimmie Thomas has now been convicted of willfully infringing upon the copyright holder for 24 songs found on her hard drive. This result is no surprise to those following this story. Capitol Records can now lay claim to more than $222,000.00 from the young woman, the first of 20,000 defendants to be brought before the Courts.

The company may recoup some small portion of their lost sales in the short-term through intimidation of their customer base, but some believe that this may backfire on them in the long run. Considering the rate of change in technologies, companies are going to need to change their business model(s) in order to survive. But for now…

Don’t get caught! It could get pricey….

And there isn’t any reason to do it illegally when there are so many ways to have what you want: free and legally! For a start, check out this web guide from digital alchemy.

Ars Technica has a number of articles covering the development and resolution of this event.

Advice for new students from the “blogosphere”

At the beginning of the school year, the web is full of free advice for new college students. Some of it may be useful, some of it may be wrong, and some of it may just be funny. But there certainly is an awful lot out there:

Financial advice

Protect your personal information:
Keep your ATM, credit card and checking account numbers to yourself. A paper shredder is a good investment for disposing of financial records properly.

Social advice

I’m a freshman at college this year, and I’m worried about balancing parties and homework. I promised my parents that I’d try my hardest to make the Dean’s List, but I also want to have fun now that I’m at college. Any suggestions?

Academic advice

Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Teachers and professors assume either that taking good notes comes naturally or that someone else must have already taught students how to take notes. Then we sit around and complain that our students don’t know how to take notes.

Of course, since October Break is this weekend, you’ve probably been here long enough to have some advice of your own to give. Any thoughts about what you wish you knew when you first arrived at Geneseo?