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Posts tagged digital public library of america

Dwarf-Sized Public E-Libraries vs. Abundance
January 21, 2013 | 12:00 pm

People in Bexar County, Texas, should be excited about the 10,000-e-book “BiblioTech” library system that the country is starting from scratch—without paper books. This is reportedly the first U.S. public library system to shun paper, cardboard and ink, except for computer printouts. Any books are better than none, and besides, the 10K figure encompasses only copyrighted books, not the tens of thousands of free classics that library patrons will be able to read electronically. What’s more, Bexar will add to the 10,000. County Judge Nelson W. Wolff, the main brain behind the plan, deserves praise for his open-mindedness about e-books, their cost-saving potential and other advantages. Many people, especially dyslectic Americans and...

Need Library E-Books to Feed Your New Gadget? Here’s the Answer
January 1, 2013 | 9:15 am

If you can’t find the right library e-books for your new Kindle, Nook, iPad or other gizmo, you’re not alone. More than 100 patrons of the District of Columbia Public Library were lined up electronically today for 10 e-book copies of The Racketeer, John Grisham’s new novel about the murder of a federal judge. Some 400+ D.C. library users awaited 60 electronic copies of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, the best-selling fiction title on the New York Times list. And a digital version of The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling, was not even in the catalog of the D.C. public library system. Could a well-stocked national digital library system—in...

Southern librarian’s thoughtful criticism of Gates Foundation survey unwittingly shows need for TWO national digital library systems—one public, one academic
December 4, 2012 | 9:30 am

Mindful of the record number of poor Americans, a thoughtful “Front Line Librarian” in a Southern state is asking an essential question in effect: Why care so much about library e-books and the rest when millions of low-income people lack computers or at least the skills to use them? Front Line says more reliance on the Net will make their lives harder, not easier. “The digital divide has not gone away,” he writes in response to my suggestion that library-lovers fill out a Gates Foundation survey on the needs of future, more digitally oriented libraries. “If anything, it is worse now than it ever has been… “On a daily basis I...

Hurricane Sandy and the national digital library issue: With smartened-up journalists and voters, could we have stopped or slowed down global warming?
November 13, 2012 | 10:30 am

Canned and dried foods, flashlights, radios, cellphones and good UPSes aren’t the only essentials that the wired might buy in an anticipation of the growing number of weather-related exigencies like Hurricane Sandy. I’ve also purchased a $99 battery-powered portable hotspot through which my iPad and other Wi-Fi-equipped devices  can stay in touch with the rest of the world when the power goes off. In the best-served locations, optimal speeds supposedly should reach 1.4 Mbps with the company’s current technology, perhaps even making Skype possible. No need for a cellphone with tethering capabilities, and my wife and I will be able to recharge the device with...

New easy-to-use iOS app works with library-owned e-books and eliminates need for browser-based downloads
October 9, 2012 | 9:48 am

The innovative Douglas County Libraries system in Colorado has done it again—with the release of a new iOS app for iPads, iPhones and presumably Touches and the forthcoming iPad Mini. Significantly, the app makes it a snap to check out library books, without forcing you to download through a Web browser. Talk about the path to Kindle-simple! DCL’s Android equivalent of the iOS app was promising, but not a smooth enough patron experience when I tried it earlier this year. But DCL will be improving the Android version. And the iOS app, judging by a quick test drive on my iPad after a download of the DCL...

ALA’s gripes to publishers dance around the e-library world’s Problem #1—not enough money for e-books
September 25, 2012 | 6:48 am

imageI’m still borrowing e-books from public libraries. I loved the digital edition of the late Louis Auchincloss’s memoirs that popped up when I was browsing the electronic stacks of a library system near me here in Northern Virginia. Public libraries at their best can be Serendipity Central. But I rely much less these days on library books than before. Too often, some major e-books are AWOL from library collections or, as documented earlier this year by the Washington Post, have long waiting lists. So I turn to Amazon, the public domain or Creative Commons titles instead. Have I lost my enthusiasm for a well-stocked national digital library system, or, to...

Two websites illustrate the need for separate national digital library systems—public and academic
August 12, 2012 | 11:24 pm

Two good websites on learning disabilities show the need for separate but tightly intertwined national digital library systems. One system public, one academic. Neither site is a library’s. Friends of Quinn is a grassroots nonprofit featuring Quinn Bradlee, son of Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee—the legendary society columnist and the Watergate editor. LD OnLine is from WETA, a public broadcasting station in the Washington, D.C., area. Friends is livelier and folksier. It’s a “must” starting point for any library patron eager to find out about a child’s learning disability or maybe her own. LD OnLine is stodgier but more comprehensive, and many academics would favor it over Friends. Viva la difference! In...

Digital Public Library of America faces uncertainty over functions, copyright
June 10, 2012 | 8:49 pm

On MIT’s Technology Review, Nicholas Carr takes an in-depth look at the creation of the Digital Public Library of America, an attempt at a non-commercial universal electronic library (which I also mentioned last month) that hopes to provide universal access to as much of human knowledge as it can. Carr first looks at Google’s attempt to create Google Book Search, and the negotiated settlement that was thrown out as too overreaching. Though Google is moving ahead with its legal defense, the search market has shifted toward social networking meaning that a book search might not be as attractive to Google...

“Many Libraries: As the world’s books go online, we must resist centralization” Technology Review, published by MIT
May 14, 2012 | 9:17 am

Download From the Internet Archive blog: The Internet has put universal access to knowledge within our grasp. Now we need to put all of the world’s literature online. This is easier to do than it might seem, if we resist the impulse to centralize and build only a few monolithic libraries. Centralization can lead to price controls, censorship without due process, lack of reader privacy, and resistance to innovators. We need lots of publishers, booksellers, authors, and readers—and lots of libraries. If many actors work together, we can have a robust, distributed publishing and library system, possibly resembling the World Wide Web. The courts...

Digital Public Library of America faces challenges, but is off to promising start
May 10, 2012 | 12:16 am

Ars Technica has a report on the Digital Public Library of America West conference from April 27th that seems to be a bit more informative than the Publishers Weekly summary we linked a week ago. Ars’s Megan Geuss reports on the challenge facing the organization, and some of the ideas presented at the event. The DPLA does have a tricky task ahead of it: The organization must be a bank of documents, and a vast sea of metadata; an advocate for the people, and a partner with publishing houses; a way to make location irrelevant to...

OverDrive buyout proposal makes ‘Not such a crazy idea,’ says DPLA’s John Palfrey
May 9, 2012 | 9:08 am

LJoverdrive1 Although I’m still gung ho about the Digital Public Library of America, I retain some of the concerns arising in a recent MIT Technology Review article. For example, how can we  reconcile the DPLA’s various goals and serve academic and public library patrons, whose needs and interests may differ sharply? One strategy would be for public libraries, or a related nonprofit, maybe even the DPLA or a successor, to be able to buy the OverDrive distribution service, which reaches ‘more than 15,000 libraries, schools, and colleges worldwide.’ Talk up the idea well—always easier to do when a service and urgent needs already exist,...

Report on west coast Digital Public Library of America meeting
May 1, 2012 | 10:55 am

Dpla From Publishers Weekly.  More in the article: On April 27, DPLA West brought together over 400 librarians, technologists, public policy advocates, and a very small number of publishers at the Internet Archive in San Francisco to discuss the progress of the most visible effort yet to forge a common digital library for both Americans and the world: the nascent Digital Public Library of America. The best thing about the meeting, the second major public gathering of the DPLA, was that it was full of hope and aspirations. Of course, that was also the worst thing about the DPLA meeting, too. Born of...