The Surprising History of Google's Push to Scan Millions of Library Books

Dominique Daniel Discussion

"Nearly 20 years ago, Google made an ambitious play to digitize the content of some of the world’s largest research libraries. It seemed like the beginning of a new era, when scholars and the public could make new connections and discoveries in the kind of mass digital library that had previously been the stuff of science fiction. But it soon became clear the actual plan would turn out to be far more controversial than its organizers probably ever imagined.

On this week’s EdSurge Podcast, we tell the story of this ambitious book-scanning effort that sparked an epic legal battle among publishers, authors and technologists. Somehow, it’s a story that seems largely forgotten.

To do that, we connected with Roger C. Schonfeld, co-author of the new book, “Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization.” Schonfeld is a longtime leader in the library community and is a program director at Ithaka S+ R a nonprofit education consultancy."

(Source: Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge Podcasts, December 21, 2021,