Late last week, judge Denny Chin dismissed a lawsuit against Google brought by the Authors Guild on claims that Google Books is violating copyright by digitizing items and making short samples available online. While the Authors Guild is already appealing the case, libraries and scholars are celebrating this expansion of the definition of fair use.
Libraries benefit from the decision in a variety of important ways, including helping librarians identify and find research materials in was that were much more difficult in the past. Now, if a librarian wanted to add a book to their collection, Google Books provides many ways of assessing an item. Librarians have more access to resources users’ might want and are able to gather information that helps facilitate the growth and development of library collections.
Researchers also benefit because it enables a great deal of data mining. For example, researchers can examine word frequencies, syntactic patterns, thematic markers and much more. The possibility of having more text available in digital formats opens up many opportunities that researchers are just starting to explore.