Pull quote: “In an era when libraries acquired materials important to their communities, negotiating rights and paying for access was not a major hindrance to conversation. But as libraries become merely bill payers and publishers the owners and curators of knowledge, we’ve seen the value of public knowledge retreat in the face of private property and individual productivity.”
What might this mean for our consideration of ebooks? Even though music and books are different in some aspects, they would both fall under what the report refers to as an “experience good” so I believe we can (at least cautiously) extrapolate the findings of this report to ebooks. A perennial issue in conversations with the Big Six is the displacement of sales due to library lending. At times, it even seems that the Big Six view library patrons as ebook pirates, so let us then embrace this study’s findings, which show a lack of sales displacement. In fact, libraries are much more similar to the legal music streaming services discussed in the report—and those streaming services stimulated sales.
I have long maintained that I only buy something if I already know what I’m getting and know that I like it, whether it’s music or books (print books; I still haven’t made the plunge into ebooks for my recreational reading). I’m glad studies continue to support the idea that “preview services” (like streaming or libraries) can and do stimulate sales rather than diminishing them.
With the current popularity of hackerspaces and makerspaces in libraries, library hack-a-thons, and hacking projects for librarians; it is clear that library culture is warming to the hacker ethic. This is a highly positive trend and one that I encourage more librarians to participate in. The reason I am so excited to see libraries encourage adoption of the hacker ethic is that hackers share several core values with libraries. Working together we can serve our communities more effectively. This may appear to be counter-intuitive, especially due to a very common public misconception that hacker is just another word for computer-criminal. In this post I want to correct this error, explain the values behind the hacker movement, and show how librarians and hackers share core values. It is my hope that this opens the door for more librarians to get started in productive and positive library hackery.
There’s a choice academic and public libraries face. One is to focus entirely on providing access to the published information that our community members want. The other is to make libraries a platform for creating and sharing culture.
But we too have choices to make, both libraries and scholars. The next time your library spends $40 to get you an article you want to read, think about the implications. Is this really how we want to do it? Do we conduct research and write it up so that those who are affiliated with institutions that can afford to subscribe to lots of journals or can pay $40 for the temporary personal use of an article can have that knowledge, but nobody else can? Really?
Here’s my conclusion: ebook models make us choose. And I don’t mean choosing which catalog, or interface, or set of contract terms we want — though we do make those choices, and they matter. I mean that we choose which values to advance, and which to sacrifice. We’re making those values choices every time we sign a contract, whether we talk about it or not.
By putting tasty headlines on nutritious subjects — chocolate sauce on brussels sprouts, as it were — Upworthy can make the sharing impulse work on topics beyond LOLCats and fashion disasters.
Mr. Pariser and Mr. Koechley thought there might be some traction in their approach in November 2011 when the gay marriage debate was raging. There was a remarkable piece of video in which an earnest young man from Iowa talked about what it was like to be raised by parents who were both women. It was an articulate defense of families in all forms and received about 700,000 views on YouTube. Angie Aker, who worked with the pair at MoveOn, came up with a new headline: “Two lesbians raised a baby and this is what they got.” Five days later, it had 17 million views.
Of course, the trick is finding that alluring headline—which is, in essence, what a lot of people try to do when posting links on Twitter. If my library’s experience with Twitter is any indication, writing clickable text is a challenge. (And sometimes people will click on things that I thought rather boring while ignoring something more eye-catching… being the stats person for the account is a fascinating endeavor.)
1. Books for Soldiers: “Once you are registered, you will be able to view the requests and send troops books, DVDs, games and relief supplies. You will also have access to our Pen Pal area and Post Card Jamboree. On average our volunteers fill thousands of requests a month.”
2. Operation Paperback sends paperbacks to troops overseas, including to the soldiers’ library in in Wardak Province, Afghanistan (pictured above).
3. Books-a-Million will let you select and purchase Books for Troops in a special program.
4. Books for Troops: “founded to send “care packages for the mind” for the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq by providing a variety of books that help ease their fears, loneliness, boredom, stress and to allow them a temporary escape from the horrors that they see and live daily. It was also founded to raise awareness of the sacrifices, both big and small, that our troops are making to protect us and to remind them that they are not forgotten.”
5. Follow this Google search to find many more options for sharing books with soldiers.
I love this!
Lessons learned? I think if I were doing the presentation over again tomorrow, I’d emphasize the practice of making data openly accessible should be considered as outside the normal scholarly communications system. It isn’t just for pirates and thieves. The goal is to make data sharing a standard practice. The means to that end is to ensure data sets are cited in the literature and by extension to have data sharing become an accepted part of the normal academic reward and incentives structure. You create data, you share it, someone else uses it for their research, they cite your data set in their paper, that citation is counted with the same weight as a citation to a paper.
Good link post to basic information about Pinterest, copyright concerns, and the whole kit and caboodle.
(I will confess that, though I’ve heard a lot about it, I haven’t even ventured to visit the website, much less sign up… I have too many time-sucks in my life already. :))
Librarianship is an awareness — a hypervigilance to any needs of a community. Everything we see or come in contact with is collected and disseminated to those who seek that information. On another level, though, we also retain that idea, and can share it with someone else. In that way, librarians are libraries, indexes, databases; polymaths. “Jack of all trades; master of none” no longer applies–librarians are constantly educating themselves and mastering the next big thing. Good librarians are interdisciplinary, as challenging as it is to sustain.
You share music, rip DVDs, make Hitler whine about your first world problems, and much more in the course of your regular online activities—and more often than not, you do these things without giving a thought to the fact that you’re actually breaking the law. Here’s a look at how you’re inevitably circumventing copyright law and what you can do to protect yourself.
The children’s and young adult e-book market faces special challenges not shared by the adult market, new research shows. And teens are slow to adopt e-books, in part because they do not see e-books as a social technology and they think there are too many restrictions on sharing digital titles.
The word “free” came up during Apple’s presentation quite often. Apparently, Apple is offering authors a suite of powerful tools that they can use to create multimedia updateable textbooks, a CMS-like classroom platform for using them, and a distribution platform. They showed texts being put together with gorgeous illustrations and embedded video.
And all I could think (still sensitized by yesterday’s SOPA/PIPA blackout protest) was “how are we supposed to deal with permissions?” These days, in the privacy of our classrooms, we mostly … don’t, though legislators would like to change that by making copyright violations much more punitive and handing rights owners a prior restraint club to beat us with.
But what we do in the classroom is hard to monitor for copyright violations (or violations of an anorexic definition of fair use). That changes when you publicly use a clip of a speech or include a historic photo without going through the work of tracking down rights holders and paying the steep charges for permissions. I seek out Creative Commons-licensed materials to use, but I know that many professors (and most of their students) don’t even think about copyright when they pull together educational material to share with a class. It runs counter to the social impulse and the technological facility to share.
The RWA is all about ensuring that the intellectual work of scholars and scientists will be protected as corporate property (hence the “regulatory interference” versus “private-sector” language.) Publishers control access to research in large part because they and the volunteer labor they harness have pretty much cornered the market on prestige and the imprimatur of quality (even though many high-quality open access journals do a fine job of quality publishing, peer review and all, and Elsevier was caught publishing fake journals). Publishers supporting the RWA argue the only way to properly vet new ideas is to have them pass into the capable hands of publishers, who will then charge scholars for access, either through libraries or by the piece. Ideas, trapped in their copyrighted expression like insects in amber, should forever remain under the control of the publisher as their rightful property.
Traditional scholarship didn’t work that way. Newton did not have to pay for permission to stand on the shoulders of giants. Yet scholars who climbed on others’ shoulders have long trusted that publishers support the sharing of research results. What we see now, though, is that publishers want to limit the sharing of knowledge, because their model depends on purchase, not sharing.