The constraining effects of information privatization: Google’s purchase and shutdown of Paper of Record
From today’s Inside Higher Ed, “Digital Archives That Disappear,” a brief article about Google’s shutdown of the historical newspaper archive Paper of Record, which it secretly purchased in 2006.
This is a good example of what many people have feared about Google’s success – that turning over information resources from shared, public control in library-related settings to the private, for-profit sector we would begin to see public access constrained.
Google has restored access to Paper of Record temporarily, but, being who they are it would be foolish not to assume that they will be spending the time figuring out how to effectively monetize the resource to make back their investment. Historians will have to pay for access to the resources that they need, in a case where the resources in question had already been paid for and were publicly accessible.