Googling print books

21 March 2005

If it's not online, you can't find it on Google. And that's why Google decided to start scanning library books. It's still just a beta search (that means it's still being tested), but if you enter the word "book" into the search field followed by "sartre" or "wonderland" or "openDemocracy" you can click to see the actual pages in books that mention those words. Look for the colourful book icon at the top.

Google is working with libraries at the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, The New York Public Library, and Oxford University, so a lot of the texts on offer are academic ones. They're also working with several publishers. If the book is in the public domain you can sometimes read the whole thing online. Otherwise Google has provided handy links to where you can buy a copy.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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