Thursday Threads: Kindle Ebook Lending, Google Ngram Viewer, Collaborative Open Source Development

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This week brought news of the Kindle-based e-book lending program through Overdrive, and Peter Brantley has an opinion piece on what this means for Amazon, publishers, and even libraries. From the other e-book powerhouse — Google — is a TED talk presentation about the Google Books ngram Viewer. Finally, there is a view of one of the benefits of the open source software model with an announcement that six libraries are funding development to meet their needs.

Governance in Open Source Software Projects

Note!Below is the text of an article I wrote for a LYRASIS member newsletter in which I talk about the nature of governance in open source software projects. I’m reposting it here for the DLTJ readership.



One of the more fascinating aspects of open source software is the role that its creators and users play in its evolution. (For more on the community nature of open source software, see a previous article, The Challenges and Rewards of Open Source) With proprietary systems, the creators and users are separate groups, and the control over the relationship is bound up in proprietary rights and contracts. (This doesn’t diminish the role of robust user groups for proprietary software; rather it is a reflection of where the ultimate control lies – with the creators of the software.) With open source software, the creators and users are commonly the same or closely overlapping. How do creators and users work with each other? This is a question of governance.

Thursday Threads: Authors Guild Sues Hathi Trust, Libraries Learn from Blockbuster, Publisher’s View of Self-Publishing

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Legal action against the digitization and limited distribution of orphan works unexpectedly hit the news again this week. This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads starts with an overview of the lawsuit filed by authors organizations and authors against Hathi Trust over plans to make digital versions of orphan works available to university users. And while we’re wondering of libraries’ role in providing access to digitized works, we should also take note of an article in American Libraries Magazine on what we could learn from Blockbuster’s fall. And lastly, I point to a story of one author’s experience when her own self publishing with Amazon ran afoul of a publisher’s desires.

Thursday Threads: Structured Data on the Web, Ebook Indexes, Amazon Disintermediates Publishers

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DLTJ Thursday Threads for two weeks in a row! I’m getting back in the groove. This week has pointers to geeky things (learning about structured data on the web) and not quite so geeky things (thoughts about indexes in ebooks and Amazon’s tactics for end-to-end control of book publishing). Well, admittedly, for only certain definitions of “not quite so geeky” … still I hope you enjoy the pointers and be sure to let me know what you think.

Free Stanford AI Class is a “Beta” for a Commercial Launch?

When Stanford University’s School of Engineering announced its free Artificial Intelligence class last month, the news took the geek world by storm and even worthy of note in the New York Times. The initial news articles made it sound like another example of open educational resources — a movement popularized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to put course materials and recordings of lectures online for anyone to use. But with registration for the class open and more details posted on the class homepage, I’m not so sure.