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Why Trust a Corporation to Do a Library's Job?

Joanne McNeil, author of Lurking: How a Person Became a User explores our dependence on Google as the Internet's Library. But is it?

A generation ago, when people had a question they would ask a librarian to look up the answer. Today, when users have a question, they Google it.In her 2020 book Lurking: How a Person Became a User, author Joanne McNeil examines our reliance on large, corporate platforms--in particular Google-- to ingest and archive everything. While early internet services provided a sense of freedom and identity, we now trust search engines and social media to preserve our blogs, books, videos, and social media forever. But McNeil writes:

Google could replicate information on its own terms, and with no further commitment to maintaining data, any information erased or last could be interpreted as something the world itself was missing.

In this thought-provoking event, Why Trust a Corporation to Do a Library’s Job?, Joanne McNeil is joined by technologist/ artist, Darius Kazemi, as they examine how in the 1990's and early aughts, people became users, and users put their trust in a corporation to do the job of a library.

What happens to library values such as privacy, preservation and enduring access to knowledge in the era of surveillance capitalism? Is Google the “internet’s library,” and if not, where should we turn for collections of knowledge at scale?

Presented by Library Futures & the Internet Archive, this discussion invites you to explore whether we’ve traded convenience for the protections that libraries have always offered: privacy, preservation, and equitable access to knowledge. And if so, where do we go from here?


April 28, 2021 10:00 am to 11:00 am

virtual event please RSVP

Event type: Seminar