The Final Case

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Robert Darnton makes give us interesting background to his life in chapter two of The Case For Books.  "Having learned to write news, I know distrust newspapers as a source of information, and I am often surprised by historians who take them as primary sources for knowing what really happened," (27).

I hate to say it, but this is why I do not enjoy the news.  I don't even like reading it that much, which means yes, I don't even like writing it that much.  Unfortunately the newspapers and news shows want attention, so they will do anything to get it.  I don't pay much mind to what any of it is telling me, and I know I don't want to be that kind of writer for somebody else.  Things that are informative and interesting like editorials or columns are my favorite, I think a lot of them offer so much good information, but I think the newsy aspect of papers and magazines are the part that can make or break it.  I agree with Darnton in that newspapers should be read for news on "contemporaries construed events, rather than for reliable knowledge of events themselves."

In chapter three, Darnton talks about the happy ending of making all of Google's data publicly available.  "Any citizen could consult it, and any company could exploit it.  the copyright laws would have to be rewritten, the rightsholders compensated, and Google indemnified for its investment in scanning," (48).

Doesn't this seem like a lot of work for Google in the future?  Rewriting the copyright laws again?  Didn't we just go through that with Disney changing the laws to give them power until no end?  Yes, and to change that again would probably be more confusing and more irritating.  Making things so publicly available is a dangerous game.  With the amount of knowledge and useful information on Google, I can't imagine a time where it would be necessary to give anyone the freedom to look at everything on Google.  Where is the authenticity in that?

"The answer is an e-book.  Not that an electric publications offers shortcuts, nor that I intend dump everything from my shoe boxes onto the Internet.  Instead, I plan to work through the material in different ways, covering the most essential topics in the topmost narrative and including mini-monographs along with selections from the richest runs of document in the lower layers," (64).

Although I would normally be completely against the world heading towards a life of e-books, I understand the explanation that Darnton gives.  From an author's point of view, he doesn't want to turn out pages that will go into books and in stores that know one will see or read.  If that's what authors think, than of course I understand why they would want their books to be put on the internet too or even instead of being in stores.  This would only make sense to me if there is a proven fact that people are not spending that much money in stores anymore, and if they are instead spending most of their time looking at books that are online.  This probably isn't a full-blown fact yet, but I'm sure that's how people are interpreting the near future to go.

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