Here is an interesting article I found via Resource Shelf. The Open Archive Initiative (OAI) and Google Scholar by Nick Luft looks at one positive effect Google (and specifically Google Scholar) may have on digital publishing.

One of the greatest barriers to retrieving and exchanging scholarly information online is the fact that database vendors (and other groups working with digital documents) do not use a single open data description standard. Luft, interested in the organization of gray literature (literature published on the Web) had been frustrated by database vendors’ lack of interest in the Open Archives Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, an “XML-based standard that is attempting to unify the dissemination and exchange of metadata used to describe documents or records accessible via the web.” When many database vendors recently became interested in OAI-PMH, Luft was surprised. That is until he discovered that Google had also become quite interested in OAI-PMH:

Maybe I have put two and two together and made five, but would the reported interest in OAI from Google be a visible indicator of them collecting material for Google Scholar. And where Google leads, other database vendors follow. Is this a trend? If this is true – and remember this is speculation – should not all producers of electronic grey literature, start to think about getting our collections OAI compliant.

I wonder where Google will end up leading digital publishing and digitization in the future. There is no doubt that they are going to have a tremendous impact on access to scholarly information, on the process of digitization, and on librarianship. But will it be for the better or for the worse? Probably a little of both. All I know is that this is a pretty interesting time to be writing a blog and to be a fledgling librarian. The future is so uncertain, but so open and so exciting.

On a semi-related note: Open Access News is a fantastic blog covering news about open access to scholarly information. Each day they put out 10 or more blog entries, all of which are of interest to librarians and those interested in open access and intellectual freedom. They report on a lot of stories I just don’t find in other blogs.