Emerging Trends in Libraries for 2016 Stephen Abram, MLS

Can We Create a National Digital Library? Robert Darnton

October 28, 2010 Issue

The following talk was given at the opening of a conference at Harvard on October 1 to discuss the possibility of creating a National Digital Library.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss a question of vital importance to the cultural life of our country: Can we create a National Digital Library? That is, a comprehensive library of digitized books that will be easily accessible to the general public. Simple as it sounds, the question is extraordinarily complex. It involves issues that concern the nature of the library to be built, the technological difficulties of designing it, the legal obstacles to getting it off the ground, the financial costs of constructing and maintaining it, and the political problems of mobilizing support for it.

Despite the complexities, the fundamental idea of a National Digital Library (or NDL) is, at its core, straightforward. The NDL would make the cultural patrimony of this country freely available to all of its citizens. It would be the digital equivalent of the Library of Congress, but instead of being confined to Capitol Hill, it would exist everywhere, bringing millions of books and other digitized material within clicking distance of public libraries, high schools, junior colleges, universities, retirement communities, and any person with access to the Internet.

The ambition behind this project goes back to the founding of this country. Thomas Jefferson formulated it succinctly: “Knowledge is the common property of mankind.” He was right—in principle. But in practice, most of humanity has been cut off from the accumulated wisdom of the ages. In Jefferson’s day, only a tiny elite had access to the world of learning. Today, thanks to the Internet, we can open up that world to all of our fellow citizens. We have the technical means to make Jefferson’s dream come true, but do we have the will? Read more…http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/oct/28/can-we-create-national-digital-library/

We’re in the EBook Business

Hutch Tibbetts

Hutch Tibbetts

The “Big 6″ publishers are refusing to sell e-content to libraries or else they charge high prices and impose strict restrictions on usage. Overdrive raised pricing unilaterally in Kansas and retained ownership of e-book titles, which then were not discoverable through the OPAC. And if the library cancelled the Overdrive contract, they would lose ownership of the e-books and would not be able to lend them.

Available content originated almost entirely from mainstream vendors, but some content previously unavailable was avail through independent publishers, local historical documents, or was self-published. (Self-publishing is increasing; about 600,000 titles are expected to appear this year.)

To answer these problems, the Douglas County, CO Library (DCL), where Hutch is the Digital resources Librarian, developed a new e-book model: libraries should own rather than lease their content. E-books are treated just like print materials and circulate on a 1 user/copy basis. The library buys additional copies when there are 4 holds on a title. The staff found new ways to promote their e-books.

 

The Bestselling E-books of 2012

All the publishers that shared digital information were houses that rack up enough print sales to compete in the bestseller race. And while we estimate that we have more than 1,000 e-books with sales of 25,000+ (see extended list online), we know this does not reflect all e-book sales in the book industry. Still, a look at this quantity underscores that the book business is quickly moving to digital. It would be safe to say that the lackluster performance in mass market has a lot to do with the fact that readers are enjoying the convenience of the electronic devices instead of the more traditional convenience of the paperback. Read more….

via The Bestselling E-books of 2012.

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Why We Miss the First Sale Doctrine in Digital Libraries

By on March 8, 2013 Leave a Comment

From

 

This is the fourth in an occasional series of articles that will explore issues surrounding the efforts to launch and expand the Digital Public Library of America.

 


 

John PalfreyPublishers, ebook vendors, and libraries are engaged in a “tug of war” over the lending of electronic books, according to Library Journal’s recent ebook survey. This clash inhibits most libraries from fulfilling their important institutional missions to provide access to knowledge and preserve our cultural heritage. In the best case, this tug of war will be a temporary struggle. The best outcome is not a winner who holds all the rope and another lying on the ground with rope-burned hands. If there must be a winner of any kind, it ought to be the reading public.

 

In this article, the fourth installment in a series on the initiative to build a Digital Public Library of America, I examine the underlying role of law in the ebook lending debate, explore potential solutions to the problems, and consider how the DPLA can contribute to solutions for those we serve. At the core of this issue is the way the copyright law works–or doesn’t–when it comes to books, libraries, and readers in the United States today and into the future. Read more…

 

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BeerBrarian: Open Access: A World Without Database Vendors?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Open Access: A World Without Database Vendors?

As a thought experiment, let’s say we “win.” Professional and academic associations go open access, as much of physics has. The Directory of Open Access Journals is able to capture the far majority of these newly free works, and in turn these are snapped up by library catalogs thanks to link resolvers and discovery services. The same happens with the Directory of Open Access Books with regards to chapters in edited volumes.

But there’s a catch: DOAJ’s search function is not, to put it politely, robust. And there’s a larger problem behind search functionality thanks to incomplete metadata. Link resolvers and discovery services that pull from that search, culling that metadata, will lead to frustrated end users who cannot access and discover what they’re looking for.

In addition, the DOAJ is overrun with new items to catalog in this scenario, creating a backlog of epic proportions. Read more…

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