A reference at the end of the BBC news discussion of the Google News Archive led me to the stimulating writings of Professor Roy Rosenzweig, a historian from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University
“I’m strongly in favour of the democratisation of access to historical documents, but also cautious about how much information Google now controls. Increasingly the model of how we access information and what information we have access to is changing, as public archives such as libraries are replaced by private companies”.
He has written provocatively on the implications of the increasing private control over information for scholarship and the public interest, in a piece entitled The Road to Xanadu: Public and Private Pathways on the History Web.
Here is an interview with Roy Rosenzweig on the relevance of multiple choice in an era of Google and h-bot, and its implications for a participatory, democratic digital history.
Slaw readers should also be interested in Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,
One consequence of law libraries discarding books in favour of online access is that this information becomes increasingly distant from the public.