Can you imagine a place that contains all the information that has ever been recorded? Jules Verne and many before him have fantasised about a universal library, but what once was utopian science fiction is becoming a reality as you read these lines. For the Internet giant Google is currently in the process of scanning all existing books and creating a digital library, which anyone can use to read and learn just what they want. The British journalist and art critic Ben Lewis ('Art Safari', 'The Contemporary Art Market Bubble') takes us into the controversial and in all senses extremely comprehensive project, which by Google is intended as a democratic and emancipatory attempt to give all people access to knowledge. But not everyone agrees. Copyright is one thing, but the question of Google's future monopoly on literature, the favouring of the English / American language (and hence culture), as well as the potential commercial interests provide further ammunition for Google's critics. Has Google, like a contributor to the project formulates it, just had a 'cool idea' and embarked on the project before it was thought through properly? Or must the book and library world simply recognise that it belongs to another millenium?
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