Scanning Robots For Libraries

from the get-me-that-book,-now dept

I remember spending quite a lot of time in the library when I was at school looking stuff up. I was recently wondering how much time students today spend at the library, and how much they simply look up on the web. Of course, the web doesn’t have nearly as much published information, and also has very little information that’s not recent. According to this NY Times article, some folks are working on ways to correct that, by creating special library robots that find and scan materials for patrons. So, you could log in to the library from your computer, request a certain book chapter, and the robot would find the book, scan the pages, and send it on to you. Of course, this brings up all sorts of copyright questions, and publisher groups (who, in the past have tried to ban libraries for stealing intellectual property) will flip out. I imagine that instead of embracing this technology that will help people perform vital research that will increase the community of ideas, we’ll be forced to waste away through many years of lawsuits before these systems ever become usable.

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Comments on “Scanning Robots For Libraries”

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David (user link) says:

Copyright not too problematic

The copyright question could be got around without too much trouble – you are allowed to photocopy one chapter from a book or one article from a journal in a library without breaching copyright restrictions. So if you were doing this at a university, you would log in to your account and when you requested chapter two of ‘I’m Great’ by William H. Gates it would tell you ‘nope, you scanned chapter two last week’. Hell, I’m sure most people at college photocopy far more of books than just one chapter anyway…

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