Google Book Effort Draws French Ire

by on February 23rd, 2005

The National Library of France is not happy with Google’s effort to scan and integrate millions of books into its Web search. Jean-Noel Jeanneney, President of the library, wrote in an editorial that he is concerned Google’s initiative to digitalize volumes at five leading libraries will reflect a unipolar worldview dominated by the English language and American culture.

Jeanneney has designed a parallel program as a counterweight against the perceived political and cultural significance of Google’s project.

However his words may appear, Jeanneney insists that his remarks were not intended to be anti-American, and went out of his way to commend the short-term effects of Google’s work as a “Messianic dream” that would “profit” under-privileged populations.

In the long run, the librarian-in-chief cautioned against the domination of America for generations to come and its potential to skew thought without reflecting the diversity of civilizations.

Michael Hussey