You could say “this is a service to watch” but that would be missing the point. Yesterday the ‘Unglue.It‘ service launched as a way to crowdsource the funding of a fee to authors to release their own works under a Creative Commons license.
Thursday Threads has been a back-burner activity for quite a while now. Blame it on too many interesting things happening at home and at work (to say nothing of the early arrival of spring weather). This week will be only a slight exception with just two threads of mention rather than the typical three or four. First is the announcement by Blackboard that it is starting up an open source support division and acquiring/hiring some of the bigger names in that sector. Second is a reflection on two independent stories about the effect of copyright uncertainty and digital rights management on book materials.
Threads this week without commentary. (It has been a long week that included only one flight of four that actually happened without a delay, cancellation, or redirection.) Big announcements are one from the Library of Congress to re-envision the way bibliographic information travels, one from Douglas County (Colorado) Library’s experiment with taking ownership of ebooks and applying its own digital rights management, and a study on the ecosystem of spam.
Last week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads theme of ebooks continues again this week, and the top story from last week is the top story again this week: the debate over the limited checkout ebooks terms set by HarperCollins. While there seems to be nothing new from either HarperCollins or OverDrive (except for the new license terms coming into effect on Monday the 7th), there is still a lot of discussion on the biblio-blogosphere about what should be done. Another entry this week focuses on the Digital Public Library of America effort that is now getting underway. The last entry is about a young fiction writer who is making a fortune by selling ebooks through Amazon/Kindle and keeping most of the profit.
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.
This week’s Thursday Threads looks at a big hole in the security model of most internet sites that require you to log into them with a username and password plus a pair of stories about “big media” battles. If you find these interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my FriendFeed stream (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Comments, as always, are welcome.
Last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education Review had an opinion piece by Kate Wittenberg, director of EPIC (Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia) with the title “Beyond Google: What Next for Publishing?” (subscription required). An excerpt from the beginning:
While we have been busy attending conferences, workshops, and seminars on every possible aspect of scholarly communication, information technology, digital libraries, and e-publishing, students have been quietly revolutionizing the discovery and use of information. Their behavior, undertaken without consultation or attendance at formal academic events, urgently forces those of us in scholarly publishing to confront some fundamental questions about our organizations, jobs, and assumptions about our work.
The plenary session of JCDL this morning was Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard Law School and University of Oxford) entitled “Open Information: Redaction, Restriction, and Removal.” This was so good that I couldn’t stand to stop and take notes. I did write down one bit: “Libraries are the best hope…for the controlled release of information.” His point was that the library profession is a trusted gatekeeper — librarians have a track record of providing orderly access to shared information resources and taking seriously the responsibility to provide access to those resources under the terms with which they were acquired. (Although there was a great deal of humming in the room at one key point of the presentation — those that were there know what I mean.) Can publishers entrust content to us such that the library controls the DRM that protects the content? Would publishers be willing to give the library the content in an unrestricted form with the promise, in the form of a legal agreement, that the library will apply the appropriate DRM at the appropriate time? Could that be a new role for libraries in this new DRM-happy society?