• Google, Google Search and Libraries: Debates on Ethics

    Mariana Strassacapa Ou (see profile)
    Ethics, Information science, Library science
    Item Type:
    algorithms, Data, ethics, libraries
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    Essay presented in 2016 as fulfillment of requirements for completion of the module INM348 - Digital Information Technologies and Application, part of the MSc Library and Information Science course at City, University of London. Abstract: This essay presents a discussion on Google Search and its implications to Library and Information Science, with a focus on the aspects regarding the ethics of the online private search engine within libraries. Initially, I attempt to define the nature of Google Search as a pervasive tool for exerting control over the Web content through the PageRank algorithm and the advertising program AdWords. Then, I highlight the significance of such a tool to Library and Information Science, pointing out Google’s mission as a library’s mission, the blind faith conferred to Google Search’s results, librarian’s anxieties about users failing to distinguish between a library catalogue and Google Search’s results page. Finally, I suggest some debates on the ethics regarding Google Search and libraries: the problem of ethics always lagging behind innovations in digital technologies; a possible explanation to the general failure in trying to regulate Google; the opaqueness of Google Search’s technology and the company’s strategy to conceal its means as bad faith; and a last point on the misleading notion of Google as ‘competition’ for libraries based on arguments that focus on the nature and ethics of each of the organisations. The essay is strongly based on Siva Vaidhyanathan’s ‘The Googlization of Everything: and why we should worry’ and on one of its main arguments: that we may have surrendered too much control over information to a single private company -- and why we should worry.
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    6 years ago


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