Here are three questions and answers from the complete interview that appears in the July 24, 2011 edition of the Boston Globe:
IDEAS: So why not leave it to Google?
DARNTON: It became clear, as Google’s project evolved, that it would be a commercial enterprise, and in fact an enterprise attached to a gigantic monopoly. A monopoly, perhaps, with the best intentions, but that would not necessarily serve the public good, because of course Google’s primary responsibility would be to its shareholders
IDEAS: So what would a digital public library be like? What would it do?
DARNTON: It doesn’t look like everybody’s image of a library with a kind of Greek temple with lots of books behind the facade. It will be in all likelihood what we call a distributed system, a network that covers all of the holdings of the greatest research libraries in the country . . . .Users won’t even have to worry about where the actual digital text is.
IDEAS: Will you have librarians?
DARNTON: We need librarians who can handle this tremendous jumble of information that is in cyberspace. People think that when you use Google you’re finding exactly what you need, but really you need expert help.
It’s worth mentioning that the interview doesn’t mention that Google also wanted to digitize a massive amount of historic newspapers. As you know, the plan got underway and material was being digitized and then-without warning-Google cut the entire program (5/20/11).