Aided by a recent class-action settlement, Google’s Book Search project promises to transform the way information is collected: who controls the most books, who gets access to those books, and how access will be sold and attained. And that has some librarians concerned, reports the New York Times. In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, Robert Darnton, the head of the Harvard library system, writes about the Google class-action agreement with the passion of a Progressive Era muckraker. "Google will enjoy what can only be called a monopoly–a monopoly of a new kind, not of railroads or steel but of access to information," Darnton writes. "Google has no serious competitors." The class-action settlement, he writes, "will give Google control over the digitizing of virtually all books covered by copyright in the United States." As long as Google has a set of millions of books that it uniquely can offer to the public, he argues, it has a monopoly it can exploit. You want that 1953 treatise on German state planning? You’ll have to pay. Or, more seriously, your library wants unfettered access to these millions of books? You’ll have to subscribe…

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