Friday, September 11, 2009

One who is slovenly and dirty, particularly in the undergarments.

According to Google's book search, Jamieson's dictionary of the Scottish language (Edinburgh, 1867) describes "blogger" thus:

I was concerned, and quietly closed the door to my office....did this apply to me? Thankfully, on closer inspection I noticed that Google had mistaken an S for a B, hence the word described is actually Slogger, not Blogger. Praise the lord.

As we well know, Google Books is raising all kinds of legal and ethical questions these days, but there other problems as well: in his presentation Google Books: the Metadata Mess Geoff Nunberg of UC Berkeley's School of Information demonstrates why he calls Google Book Search metadata "a mishmash wrapped in a muddle wrapped in a mess." See also Nunberg's very enjoyable article about same in the Chronicle. Here's a sample:

Then there are the classification errors, which taken together can make for a kind of absurdist poetry. H.L. Mencken's The American Language is classified as Family & Relationships. A French edition of Hamlet and a Japanese edition of Madame Bovary are both classified as Antiques and Collectibles (a 1930 English edition of Flaubert's novel is classified under Physicians, which I suppose makes a bit more sense.) An edition of Moby Dick is labeled Computers; The Cat Lover's Book of Fascinating Facts falls under Technology & Engineering. And a catalog of copyright entries from the Library of Congress is listed under Drama (for a moment I wondered if maybe that one was just Google's little joke).

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, don't know if you're interested in this blog: I'm writing about ebooks and the future of reading - but from a publisher's perspective! Should be of real interest to librarians. Come over and have a look. Best wishes to you all, Tim