Some large libraries are rejecting Google and Microsoft's programs to scan their book repositories for Web searching. The stated reason libraries are wary is largely because both companies restrict access to the data to individual search results — a notion that most librarians say they're opposed to on principle, preferring universal access to their stored knowledge. Come on. Their true motives are an open book.
Some libraries remain attracted to the programs because the technology giants subsidize the costs of book scanning. Many more libraries opt to partner with the Open Content Alliance, which shares the cost with its partners and allows open access to their results for all search engines. But the Open Content Alliance, created by Brewster Kahle who also started the Internet Archive project, is focused exclusively on out-of-copyright titles, forcing several libraries to hedge their principles with the search providers because they can't afford book scanning on their own limited budgets.
And one library, the University of Michigan's, clearly has money on its mind.
Jack Bernard, a lawyer for the University of Michigan, defends Google's program:
We have not felt particularly restricted by our agreement with Google.
Of course, the university was one of the first academic libraries to sign onto Google's book scanning program in 2004 and is the benefactor of several donations by Michigan alumnus Larry Page. Likewise, Google's employing graduates in the college town of Ann Arbor. No one would be shocked if the Michigan university one day inherited a substantial multibillion-dollar endowment from the loyal alumnus's estate. It isn't going to risk that future over mere intellectual ideals.
When the university and town of Ann Arbor stand to benefit a great deal more than just subsidizing costs of book scanning, the academic principle of universal access to knowledge quickly flies out the window. Now that's school pride.