I know when I’m being used. It’s a learned trait after being used many times by friends, family, and colleagues.
Exactly one year ago today, the Google Librarian Central blog was updated. There hasn’t been another blog post since. That’s 365 days of no public communication with the librarian community. I’ve also asked around and found out that Google did not have an exhibit at ALA this year. The last Google Librarian Newsletter was in May of 2007.
So, why all the fanfare in 2006 through 2007 about loving librarians?
Google realized that in order to index the world’s data, they needed access to the billions of books held in libraries throughout the world. So, their marketing department (those sly dogs) decided to buddy up with ALA and the entire library community to gain access to these print treasures so that they can scan and index them. Before realizing that they needed to do this, Google didn’t chat with librarians directly since the early days of the service (circa 1996-1998), as they needed us then as well.
Am I angry with Google for using librarians? A bit.
But even more, I’m disappointed in librarians who actually fell for this blatant marketing scheme. Did they really think that this relationship would continue? Did they grasp the importance of what Google was/is doing? Will they fight back? Or will they fit the stereotype that librarians are passive and let yet another company walk all over them? I hope they won’t, but then again, I won’t be surprised if they do.
There is no doubt in my mind that the entire library community was used. ALA was used. Those academic institutions that signed up were used. And those librarians that played a part in the PR stunt were used. I saw this coming (and I’m not the only one)
So, Google will continue to use librarians, scan their books, profit from it, and then leave us in the information dust to rot like an old microfilm machine.
It’s sad really. But then again, we fell for it. Well, not me. I know when I’m being used. Do you?