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From The Digital Shift. The full article is well worth reading:

The Internet Archive’s Peter Brantley made a cogent and precise presentation at the American Library Association conference this week that urged the librarian community to do a better job of shaping the multitude of conversations that ultimately affect how and what libraries can do with digital content.

Brantley, the director of the Bookserver Project at IA, said librarians, rather than just saying yes or no to various business models put forth by the Big Six publishers, need to be much more active.

“I think it is really, really, really important for us not to be passive in those conversations,” Brantley said. “And we have probably not done as good a job there as we could.”

The conversations also need to move beyond the Big Six, particularly as the publishing landscape rapidly flattens, Brantley said.

“It’s not just the Big Six and it’s not even just the small and independent publisher, but there’s this huge universe of truly independently published material that’s very, very difficult for libraries to get a hold of,” said Brantley, who added that in recent conversations he had with the Library of Congress the staff there expressed great concern about the inability to acquire much of this material.

“This is material, for example, that an author might publish into Kindle’s Direct program only. So there’s no way for us, in the public library context, to get a hold of it,” Brantley said. “We have to think, as a broad community, how do we touch that kind of material. We really might not like to see a world in which access to books ends up getting fractionated across vendors.”

Brantley gave a nod to the joint effort under way in Canada, under the direction of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council and eBOUND Canada that is seeking, as LJ reported,  to build a national public library infrastructure for the storage and distribution of digital content that would also manage lending agreements with publishers as well as transactions between libraries and patrons.


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