Archive for the 'content' Category

First, please read the statement ALA released from the Task Force late yesterday (as Task Force members were flying home from DC). Just so you know, ALA staff that are a part of and assisting the Task Force worked on it quite a lot with us, though the entire 20 member task force approved its contents. It is written to address and update everyone related to what the Task Force is working on and has set as priorities given our charge via the ALA Council Resolution that passed at the ALA Annual Conference this summer. Press Release

Second, I will copy and paste below a few comments I left on my facebook page in response to reaction from my linking to the Boing Boing piece today on the Task Force’s work. These are my observations and opinions alone, but they are unadulterated and what I believe in relation to all of this and what ALA and I and YOU can do (with ALA anyway).

Kate Kosturski This is good, Michael, but ebooks and DRM issues have been around for quite a bit of time (well, in the tech world). Why so long for such a task force to be established? I feel as though the community had an opportunity to break new ground in this realm for some time, and just didn’t react until things didn’t go their way.

David Leslie Like Kate said, thanks to the success of iTunes and Amazon, this ship has sailed. The next fight is going to be magazines and journals IMHO.

Michael Porter Kate, I SO agree. I ran for ALA Council because I felt exactly the same way. Before I was “installed” as a Councilor I worked with my (soon to be) fellow Councilors to pass a resolution that had ALA take a stand on these issues….finally. I ran and was elected to ALA’s Executive Board at Annual this summer with this as my primary issue.

Kate Kosturski It is one of the things that frustrates me about this profession – our very reactive approach to advocacy, marketing and issue formation. I do hope you get something done though. I’ll go back to watching my cartoons now (ah the joys of being home sick).

Michael Porter
I absolutely agree we are behind the ball here in some respects. But I am trying to help use what I know to lead. Kate, you are right, but we have things and people in place that are doing all they can to chart a path forward. Please support these people and these efforts. ALA is a org with a rich tradition and deep respect in circles we must have entry into in org to tackle this. So please…

Kate Kosturski When you put it that way, I’ll get behind you. :) (I’m also just very much burnt out from hearing about HarperCollins and ebooks.)

Rosario Garza Agree with Kate and David — ALA is VERY LATE in addressing this issue, which just reinforces the image of it being a stodgy, slow-to-react organization. Have been VERY DISAPPOINTED with the official pronouncements to date.

Michael Porter ‎…keep think, talking and working on this….help be a part of the solution…WE FINALLY HAVE SOLID TRACTION. The work to get these Task Forces up and funded and selected and running has been a LONG while in the making. It is coincidence that recent developments cam e up these past coupe weeks as they did (though clearly again, this was overdue). I was frustrated and have done all I can to work within the system and in outside ways to assist (libraryrenewal.org and my day job at WebJunction). Please, when the site for the Task Force goes live, jump in…help us chart the wisest course forward and, most importantly, all of us…we each will have to do work to make this happen. It will require effort from all of us. Real time and energy and follow though…beyond a blog post or comments.

Also, please understand that this Task Force is not all of ALA. We are a piece of it. We cannot do everything, we cannot act as ALA spokespeople to many degrees. We are simply members trying to work to do the right thing within (and sometimes to expand) the scope of ALA. I know that we all share the same frustrations and concerns you have. It’s why we are trying to take action by diving in more and also trying new things that are outside the ALA system *cough* Library Renewal *cough*”

Finally, later in the afternoon/early evening there has been one last development of note. Again, this is what I (just) posted to my facebook wall. I invite your comments here, there or wherever you think they will reach me most effectively (no comments from the peanut gallery there!):

After multiple urgent conversations and email threads with some folks from both ALA Task Forces working on electronic content access issues (EQUACC and eBook), some senior leadership at ALA and some additional key staff at ALA, we will be have a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss immediate action ALA should consider or take.

I’d ask for your feedback to take to this meeting while at the same time implore you to consider the position of the org, relationships the org must maintain and build and also consider the limitation of the org.

I would also ask that you read the thread below (the Boing Boing) thread. My comments there provide context we must consider. As Eli Neiburger said in a recent Library Renewal post, Outrage is Not Adaptive….even when it is understandable.

Having said this, and trusting your read the thread below (above in this blog post)…how can I best represent libraries tomorrow in that meeting?”

So…yes, this is short notice. And yes, I have already been directly collecting feedback from literally dozens of us in Libraryland to take back to ALA on this…and I have been working with others who are doing the same (including Librarian by Day, Bobbi Newman) to ensure we have done all we can to get traction in appropriate ways at ALA. I’m doing all I can.

So if you are concerned or upset by this entire situation, please ask yourself, Are you doing or willing to do all you can? Am I willing to do that in the most thoughtful and productive ways? Please remember how much easier it is to complain and how very hard it is to DO. So send your suggestions, and if you are outraged be prepared to and committed to do work on this for years. The future of libraries, not just in America, but the world over is truly at stake. Also, remember as you think on this that ALA is not a panacea, they are a piece in this unfolding puzzle. And they can definitely do more and improve, yet we are many pieces in the puzzle together. If we carefully use our voices and power for thoughtful, carefully planned, intentional action we can ensure vibrant libraries in a world dominated by access in electronic formats vs. print or physical formats. We can do this. We MUST do this.

Let the comments and emails commence. And hey, while your at it, wish me and all those folks buried in this luck, patience and understanding. We are pretty wiped out at the moment to be honest and can use the good thoughts and energy.

It is slightly freaky that six years ago there was a post here about another scary bug floating in the air, eh? My advice? Between chicken club sandwiches and checking cnn for panicky hybrid bird/swine flu updates, why not take a moment and just have some good ole’ geek fun and change your facebook interface to Pirate? Avast! It be simple, matey!

Here’s what it will (partly) look like after your customization
(Click the pics for access to larger versions):
Pirate facebook Interface

Here is another image with clear instructions on how to make this simple customization:
facebook Pirate Instructions

Your pandemic stress can walk the plan and be well forgotten. Besides, scurvy is worse than swine flu, right?

PS-Check out imeem.com, my latest tech crush, for seemingly endless eternally glorious musical distractions.

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Now playing: Don’t Touch Me (Rock mix)

A Dorks Grooveshark Freakout

Libraries have to get people what they want, when they want it, and in the format they want it. People care about content, not container. And libraries have to figure out how to do better. Why with the ranting on this same topic?

In chewing it over the past few days, I realized that I can count on one two hands the number of times I remember being really stunned by something on the internet. A moment of “a-ha!” or “YES!” or “I had no idea this could be done” and even a couple “I KNEW it would happen!”‘s. Last week I had one of those moments. I have to admit that I was disappointed in myself for not knowing about this service sooner considering that I have subscribed to similar (as similar as possible) services for years to test their functionality and content libraries. This, though, well, this freaked me out. Think about library circulation in the face of THIS content distribution model: “Any song, any time, for free”. Hummina hummina hummina! It isn’t perfect, but I put it through some paces for a couple of hours and am very impressed. I still heart Pandora and getting CDs from my local library, but still…. Even if it is made to go away for legal or copyright issues at some point in the future, think about functionality. This, well, this just blew my mind:
http://listen.grooveshark.com/

The functionality isn’t really *that* different, than services like Rhapsody, MusicMatch (RIP), last.fm, etc, but the model of input into the stream seems to be tweaked a bit. And the pure joy of instant music gratifications will hit you on the head in the most glorious way. It’s funny how looking at something you know fairly well, through a slightly different lens can focus you minds eye more clearly and even turn your attention and work in different directions. Maybe grooveshark won’t freak you out too, but my mind has been all atwitter this week because of it.

And speaking of atwitter…..

Love Twitter? Sick of Twitter? Don’t care about twitter but heard about it a lot? Watch this!

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Now playing: Solex – Athens – Ohio

Libraryman

hi-fi sci-fi library: The Presentation

(Maybe) You’ve heard the song and seen the video. Now you can see the presentation that inspired them both!

-Hi-Fi-Sci-Fi-Library: Technology, Convergence, Content, Community, Ubiquity and Library Futures.
LITA National Forum – keynote – October 18, Cincinnati, OH

Description:
So you think its an interesting time to be a librarian now? Just wait! Through an examination of past trends, current tech, emerging tech, academic futurism and a dash of pop culture, well take a realistic peek at where library technology is headed. Well then take this information and start planning what we can do now to ensure that libraries not only continue to offer our vital service, but that our role and positive contributions to society increase – perhaps quite dramatically.

The presentation is stuffed full of multi media, special effects and lots of realistic, yet fun and thought provoking surprises designed to get your mind chugging along as is contemplates the future of Libraryland. A future populated with hi-fi sci-fi libraries!

These two intro slides will be running at as people are filtering into the room (they are slightly clipped here, click to see the whole slide):
hi-fi sci-fi library: LITA 08 Intro Slide #1

hi-fi sci-fi library: LITA 08 Intro Slide #2

Hope to see some of you there!

From the last post you can see that David and I recorded a snappy little library song last week. We are really proud of the work we’ve produced and now YOU get a chance to be in the video!! It is jumpy little ditty about library futures, technology and how we will succeed as libraries.
Please listen to this short snippet and then…..shoot a brief video of you singing along! Thats all it takes! You can use a web cam, or any other camera you like and send it to the email below. It should really only take a few minutes on your end, and after we get the videos, we’ll take the best and put them in the video we are hard at work on! Of course, please also feel free to send other video that might go along with the title/theme of the song “hi-fi sci-fi library” (costumes are very welcome by the way!:)
So join in the fun and star in a video with us! This is your official invite! We are looking forward to seeing YOU in our upcoming video!

Here is a link to the very short snippet to sing along with (you can download it even if you want). The “hi-fi sci-fi library” part is what we really need to see you singing.

If you have you have a webcam, you really should be emailing your video to: michael.libraryman *At Sign**gmail.com

Please send your clips in to the above address no later than August 24th, 2008.

We are really looking forward to seeing you in the video with us!!!!!!!!!

-Michael Porter and David Lee King

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Now playing: David Lee King & Michael Porter – hi-fi sci-fi library

Hooray! Libraries, library staff and most importantly, library patrons are accessing content with tools like youtube. And Joost. And others. This is important. And libraries are in that loop. Woo hoo!

But…what about the oceans of content that just isn’t “free” and/or centrally located and is distributed more and more via electronic means? What about the content in the long tail that only for-profits are doing a successful job of distributing (aka selling in most instances). In libraries there is inter-library loan of course. And there is eBay and Amazon and a host of others that have cut into library business to some extent (not necessarily a bad thing at all, right?). But there is Netflix. Netflix (just for fun, why not check that link out and think about it in terms of what libraries do. Some startling concepts may stand out.), just keeps popping up on my radar over and over again. Brightly. Here’s the latest instance:

US DVD rental firm Netflix is to release a set-top box which will let subscribers download movies and other programmes over the net.
*link*

So what does this indicate for the future of content access in libraries?

Granted, there have been a small slew of set top boxes designed to specialize in content delivery in the last couple of years. But with Netflix participation, for me at least, the implications for libraries and content delivery futures grow in significance and immediacy. As these services exist now, and as they are shaping up, libraries are cut out of almost all of this business. Influencing or being included in this sort of content delivery model would take significant investment from larger (or combinations of larger) library related business or organizations (including non-profits and even government agencies potentially).

True, “Netflix has spent about $40m on the development of its streaming service during the past year.” and that of course surely does not include licensing and revenue related math for the studios, etc. True also that money talks, eh? Still, given the mission of the library (particularly Public Libraries) it seems worth noting that:
As an industry, within the larger library-centric institutions that could make important impacts:
-We are not researching this kind of content delivery in any truly significant way.
-We are not planning to, in the future, provide specific deliverables based around his kind of content delivery.
-We do not have organized, direct or significant relationships with the companies that own the largest collections of popular content and manage it’s distribution to approach them as a potential distribution channel.
-We do not have the legal and negotiation teams that would be required to get our patrons access to the content controlled by companies mentioned above.

While the above list is a bit intimidating, is it insurmountable? I keep thinking about the last interview I read with Reed Hasting, CEO of Netflix. It concluded with the question “What is the future of Netflix?”. His answer, was “there is a reason we are named Netflix and not DVDflix”. Obviously and wisely they are eyeing content delivery. And so are libraries? Certainly there are hundreds of other companies doing so, many of which have an eye on (inadvertently I’m sure) further reducing our market share and value. This is all fine and well. But it makes one again wonder: are libraries at large doing the work necessary to be positioned in the content delivery market? What about libraries??? Will we care more when our DVD circulation drops? Or when Netflix becomes NetLibrary (serious point and little inside joke there too)? Interestingly, someone once said to me that “the most valuable asset NetLibrary really has is the name NetLibrary”! Wow. In light of what Reed Hastings said in the interview I keep recalling, it gives pause.

Netflix hasn’t changed their name. Yet. But their mission, and the missions of other content delivery centric companies seems clear. And it is threatening to libraries. And I am concerned that this threat is not being surfaced and dealt with sufficiently across our industry. If we were all watching the Netflix business model evolution closely we might talk about (and work on) this more. Perhaps when Netflix changes their name to NetContent or NetAV..or NetLibrary, more aggressive action will be taken in our industry?

I REALLY wonder what you think though.

And now for something completely different! Me being a dork with my new XO laptop. Woo hoo!
Me and MY XO

Libraryman

You Got Your WorldCat In My facebook?

I try hard to keep work separate from this blog. Very rarely though, there is some spill over beyond me saying “I did this at work”. And now is one of those happy times. Actually, it’s more of a “I know these great folks from OCLC who shared a sneak peak and now I am allowed to share a bit of the juicy stuff as well”. At this point it is mostly informative and less participatory. And it is very beta. A test. What is it?

It is the WorldCat application for facebook! It is NOT listed in the application directory on Facebook so you have to receive an invite to get it. It may change, it may stick, it may not. Regradless, as a dutiful beta tester, I’ve included a couple of screen shots here for the curious. Click any image to got to it’s flickr page and be able to see it much larger:

Logged in view of the facebook WorldCat app:
facebook WorldCat app

If you get an invitation to beta test it will show up looking like this once you are logged in to facebook (I circled it in red so it would stand out):
facebook worldcat invitation

When you click the invite, you get something like this explaining the app:
facebook worldcat invitation details

This bug has gone bye bye (I was an early beta tester, lol). You really likely won’t ever see this, but it was funny:
facebook worldcat error

And again, a view logged in to the app. I know, I know, it gets cut off, but this time its bigger (Go away giant MONK ad!:):
facebook WorldCat app

I am very grateful to be looped into the testing and am also happy to share that I generously told:

If you want to, you could blog it. But your readers will need an invite to get the app so that could create some overhead for you.

Ok. I can handle that. I think. :) How about this, if you have a facebook account and want to give this a beta run, drop me a line. Email or on facebook is fine. Feel free to friend me on facebook while your at it. :) If possible, you will get an invite to test based on speed of response. I’ll pass the info along as quickly as possible given the holiday weekend. Assume though at this point that you’ll be put on a list of potential beta folks and that if you get an invite then you get to test. This is a very informal get the word out a little bit of community sharing, not an official work initiative by any means. I am doing this ’cause I like it and it is pretty darn neat in theory. Not really for work (though from work I know) Ahhh.. overhead reduced (and level of my tertiary involvement revealed).

Does the title of this post make anyone wonder about our information creation and consumption environment? Wouldn’t it be good to be able to have a WorldCat that would allow us to flip it and say “You got your facebook in my WorldCat?”

PS-If you look at the pics and ask yourself “Who is Bob Robertson Boyd?”, I would guess you might expect to ask yourself that question a bit more in the future. Bob works with a team of folks on “social stuff” at OCLC in Dublin, Ohio and does some fine work. And just to clarify, I work on the team at WebJunction in Seattle that works on “social stuff” and, as most of you know, WebJunction has some nifty connections to OCLC.

From “my” Public Libraries Magazine editor (actually DLK and I write this together so “our” editor is a better way to say it)”, comes this for your consideration:

“the January/February issue is a *theme* issue so the feature articles will all focus on one topic. This time the topic will be Services to Teens. So, if at all possible, please try to tailor your columns to that subject for the Jan/Feb 2008 issue.”

But I’m not a YA librarian. Neither is DLK. So, we need help from the experts. We write “The Internet Spotlight” column, and are interested in getting feedback from real life librarians out there dealing with Teen/YA Services in their everyday work. If you are one of those folks and would like to be included as a quote/contributor to this issues column do this:

Reply in the comments *or* send me an email explaining what your “Internet Spotlight” is in relation to YA/Teen Services. This could also be what your YA patrons see as their “Internet Spotlight” or it could be anything related to YA’s or YA services and the internet. You know, a web site and online activity, whatever you observe as a spotlight subject. It’s really open ended and can be factual or opinionated (both are useful). A paragraph is a nice length, but more or less works well too.

So, tell me, what is your YA/Teen Services “Internet Spotlight”???

Thanks!

PS-This is due to our editor in 10 days.

Libraryman

facebook Maneuvers and TweetVolume

In fairly huge social networking news, if you aren’t using (or at least monitoring the maneuvers of) facebook much lately, you might consider firing up your account again. They have been adding outside app functionality (with a few hickups, natch) in ways I’d hoped might show up on a social library web site first. *grumble* The facebook Developers Platform will help you make your own if you are smarter than me in this regard. I lament that this didn’t show up in Libraryland first, but you know, I also wish I could have written Sgt. Peppers and wishin’ don’t mean I’ve got the chops, brother! Still, it’s made the weekend more interesting watching people/friends/colleagues dive in over the weekend. Superpatron (Edward V.) said it best via twitter when he sent out the message “You got your facebook in my twitter!”. I love you, you glorious geek! :)

In other, more lighthearted social networking news, Tweet Volume is a tool that tells you how often words are being used on twitter. Hmmm…anybody else see the word occurrence below as telling?
I'm just sayin': Memorial Day oclc ala sex library 2.0 TweetVolumes
Thanks to thefreerangelibrarian for the Tweet Volume heads up. KGS, you are the bomb.

Libraryman

Look, Ma! I Made A Meebo Room!

Just in the chatty fun!

http://www.meebo.com/rooms

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