It wasn’t too long ago that the music industry was in an uproar about stories of how easy it was to copy digital audio files and make digital copies with high fidelity. It was predicted that we would see the same thing in other media forms, and this week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads has two stories on the topic of book publishing. First is news of another inexpensive and simple (and now to be commercially produced) book digitizing system. Although the process of “ripping” a book from its physical medium might take longer than an audio track, these kind of devices are emerging that will make it simple to do. What happens with the digital copy after that? The second Thursday Threads pointer is to an interview with the founder of book publishing industry consultant about the state of book piracy, how it is measured, and why digital rights management software is a poor way to stop it. The last entry this week is a short excerpt of a brief summary of a study conducted by OCLC last year on the usage of MARC tags in cataloging records.
With the close of the year approaching, this issue marks the 14th week of DLTJ Thursday Threads. This issue has a publisher’s view of Amazon’s strong-arm tactics in book pricing, research into the possibility that academic authors could game Google Scholar with spam, demonstrations of how Amazon’s Mechanical Turk drives down the cost of enlisting humans to overwhelm anti-spam systems, and a story of multispectral imaging adding information in the process of digital preservation.
As the new year approaches, I wish you the best professionally and personally.
Thursday will be a big day in the Google Book Search lawsuit settlement: the parties to the lawsuit, along with the objectors, supporters, and friends-of-the-court, will be in the courtroom of United States District Judge Denny Chin offering oral arguments in the final settlement/fairness hearing. In his order, Judge Chin recognized 26 parties that will speak for up to five minutes each on their positions in the settlement (21 in opposition, 5 in favor). The U.S. Department of Justice will also speak at the hearing. But I think we’re all eagerly awaiting to hear what the judge himself will say about the settlement agreement.
In the lead-up to the hearing, Associate Professor James Grimmelmann at the New York Law School has continued his efforts, along with the students from the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School, to make the documents and proceedings of the lawsuit accessible and understandable to non-lawyers. In the most recent court filings leading up to Thursday’s hearing are some interesting nuggets.
My place of work is looking to acquire educational videos in a digital form with an eye towards long-term preservation. At this point we receive a physical form (preferably DVD, but sometimes VHS) and digitize it to a very lossy access format (RealMedia, in this case). With this change, we would get a preservation-worthy digital copy from the producer/distributor and forego the physical version.
There is quite a lot written on preserving video, but I wanted to distill the requirements down into statements that vendors could reasonably provide today. I think these are pretty sound requirements, but I’m looking for feedback. In particular, I’m not quite sure how to handle the transfer of closed caption text from the publisher/distributor; suggestions are welcome.
Wired magazine published a brief story and online photo gallery of the book scanning and print-on-demand projects at the Internet Archive. It is a fascinating glimpse into their vision and processes. Included below are cropped thumbnails and part of the text captions that accompanied the pictures in the Wired online gallery.
Via a weekly wrap-up post by Dion Almaer on the Google Code Blog comes mention of a Google Tech Talk video from their IPv6 Conference 2008. It is a panel discussion called “What will the IPv6 Internet look like?” and it offers insight into the difficulties of transitioning to the next generation IP transport protocol. Although it has been years since I’ve seen the business end of managing an actual IP network, I found the discussion a fascinating look at the issues that are ahead of network engineers and device manufacturers around the world.
OhioLINK’s Meg Spernoga pointed our staff to a 30 minute audio documentary called Who Needs Libraries? from Soundprint.org:
As more and more information is available on-line, as Amazon rolls out new software that allows anyone to find any passage in any book, an important question becomes: Who needs libraries anymore? Why does anyone need four walls filled with paper between covers? Surprisingly, they still do and in this program Producer Richard Paul explores why; looking at how university libraries, school libraries and public libraries have adapted to the new information world. This program airs as part of our ongoing series on education and technology, and is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education.
Why settle for mere digital copies of books (a la the Google Book Search project and the Open Content Alliance) when you can have an edition printed, bound and sent to you in the mail? That’s the twist behind a recent partnership announced by Amazon.com, Kirtas Technologies, Emory University, University of Maine, Toronto Public Library, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.