This weekend I was at the second “DPLAfest” for the Digital Public Library of America. For a while I was in the national e-book program track. Participants from public and academic libraries, from consortia, from publishers, and from authors discussed what a national ebok program for libraries would look like. There were discussions of the multiple paths through which content could get into libraries: front-list titles, mid- and back-list titles, public domain works, independent publishers, and individual authors. And there was also discussion about many ways the ebooks could appear in libraries: in Adobe Digital Edition catalogs, through e-reader applications, in public access catalogs, and so forth. In between the sources and the destinations was the “marketplace” concept. And that reminded me of a similar architecture — the internet “hourglass”.
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.
The turn of the year brings commentary on the past 12 months and thoughts on the future. This edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads looks at the relationship between libraries and electronic books with an offer by Sony to explain e-reader hardware to libraries and an opinion piece that libraries need to get their act together on the adoption of e-books. Then there is a look forward at possible trends for the new year; I try to pick out the ones that I think will have an impact on libraries. One trend that does seem to be emerging is the migration of libraries from proprietary software to open source software for their integrated library systems. Lastly, we’ll wrap up with a look at Public Domain Day.