Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Importance of Magazines?

Mark Chillingworth at Information World Review reports that Google are unlikely to extend their book search program to magazines.....

Google has damped down speculation that it will extend its Google Book Search platform to include magazines with an ISSN number. Technical difficulties with digitising magazines and a lack of existing archives were cited as the main reasons.
Chillingworth quotes Jens Redmar (Director Google Book Search in Europe) as saying:
"Magazines describe a trend at the time. A historic book has more valuable information than a historic magazine." Periodical publishers have also failed to create archives of their content, which Redmar sees as essential to a successful search tool.
We can agree that consumer magazine publishers have by and large failed to create archives of their content (amazingly many still do not archive PDFs of their current issues), but this has nothing to do with the value of these archives. It is really very odd to say that a historic book is more valuable than a historic magazine. What on earth can he have meant? Historians find contemporary magazine archives an invaluable tool.

IWR is a reliable magazine, indeed a valuable magazine, but I am not sure that this report really stands up. Google Book Search after all already includes a great number of issues of historic magazines. Here is one from the Bodleian and here is a typical page [Though the Google meta-data gives me a shudder: "blackwoods magazune By william blackwood sons" where did the magazune come from, and has the apostrophe gone awol?]

1 comment:

Eoin Purcell said...

I think you are right Adam,

Though Google is know for its secrecy and for putting the opposition on the back foot so maybe that is what is happening!
Eoin