Kate Worlock, of Electronic Publishing Services (EPS), a UK-based consultancy, spoke today in one of the show-floor presentation theaters on the subject of “Googlezon & Beyond!–The Challenges Facing Publishers in 2006.”
Though some might lament “the Googlization and dumbing down of scholarly research,” she said, “it becomes the role of publishers and librarians to educate users to conduct research effectively.”
Noting that librarians are more excited than publishers about Google’s digitization projects, Worlock warned, “these efforts could be more of a threat to librarians than publishers, but hopefully not. Only through libraries and information services can we assure information is used effectively.”
She encouraged publishers to not consider Google a threat, but rather to take time to consider the opportunities that Google’s efforts create, for example by adding tags to content so that Google can find it more easily and draw more users to it.
“Google,” she said, “is leading publishers kicking and screaming down the same path as the music industry.”
But, she observed, “if Google Book [a.k.a. Google Print] fails, Google will not continue it. Still, there is a growing feeling that Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search will make a difference in the content world.”
As a positioning strategy, publishers should look at their content, consider how to make it more valuable to users, let Google help users find it, and then deliver it in a way that users want to use it, she advised.
EPS is sponsoring a debate on the subject at their Web site. Drop over to observe or participate.