The digitisation of books by Google Books has opened up access to books that previously were limited to only a few. Others believe Google has exploited copyright owners for their own commercial gain. Since 2004, legal action by publishers, The Authors Guild (USA) and individual authors has ensued.
In November 2013, Judge Chin ruled in favour of Google citing fair use. Fair Use in the United States copyright act tries to balance the rights of the copyright owner with socially important uses such as criticism, news reporting, teaching and research by allowing unlicensed use of copyright protected works under certain circumstances. Judge Chin said Google’s use was highly transformative because it transformed text into a comprehensive word index to assist in search and it transformed book text into data for new kinds of research (Zimmerman, 2014). To be transformative, something new has to be created from a pre-existing work and not merely be a substitute.
The benefits of Google Books include:
improved search facility for books
broader access to works
increased audience for books
convenient links to booksellers
enhanced sales (Zimmerman, 2014).
Most of the arguments against such a project revolve around commercial companies, such as Google, profiting from or exploiting other people’s works for market dominance and financial reward. The Authors Guild argue that copyright owners should be consulted and compensated by commercial companies (The Authors Guild, 2014).
This case highlights to me, that both sides have valid arguments pertaining to access and compensation and balancing the needs and rights of creators, companies and users in the digital age is very complex.
The Authors Guild. (2014). Authors Guild V. Google. Retrieved from
The creative office spaces featured in this module five provide diverse, flexible and safe spaces for employees. Collaboration is very important and the physical proximity of teams is a high priority, however there is an awareness that different activities require a variety of spaces for the best outcomes. Open, semi-open and closed spaces are available to meet different needs, while communal spaces such as kitchens and cafes allow for chance encounters and informal discussions.
Productivity drives business and Google believes human performance is influenced by space, culture and well-being. They gather data, measure and analyse the user experience of their employees in order to improve and therefore be more innovative and productive. Office space for startups needs to be functional and low cost. Flexible solutions and input from employees may be a necessary to make the best out of a difficult or compromised space.
Creative industries try to provide a safe place for employees where mistakes, critique and feedback are part of the learning process and this contributes to the culture of the company. Other attributes that can contribute to the culture of a creative company involve their products/services, leadership, sustainability and well-being. A newly designed place may not be successful if employees are not consulted, given choices or given the opportunity to provide feedback.
Key lessons from creative office space design that could inform learning environments:
Proximity and adjacencies
Visibility of information and thinking
The culture and pedagogy of a school will determine how successfully spaces are used for learning. Without professional development and consultation, a new open and collaborative learning setting may not be embraced by some staff and students. Tensions may exist between how things were done in the past and how they fit in or do not fit into a new environment.
Everyday when I search Google I see the knowledge graph. I had never considered how it was put together until now. It is a good example of linked data. I can see how data has been drawn from various sources so that relationships an be explores. Being more aware of linked data, I spotted the following reference via an RSS feed. Ending the Invisible Library: linked data . The article discusses Google’s Knowledge Graph in relation to libraries. MARC records cannot be read in the current search engine environment so most library data is not available via search engines. Kevin Ford was the project coordinator in the Network development and MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress and he said “What we need to do is not just talk amongst ourselves better, but we need to start communicating or formatting our data in such a way that we can be visible and seen by…other large organizations, such as the Facebooks and the Yahoo!s and the Bings and the Googles” of the world. (Enis, 2015) The article argued that libraries should support linked data because it produces better results for users and improves library web visibility. I will be watching with keen interest how libraries and linked data develop.