Monday, January 10, 2011

"At ALA Midwinter, Brewster Kahle, Librarians Ponder The E-book Future"

January 10, 2011 21:59

A report from the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego by Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly

Albanese writes:

The session looked at the challenges and opportunities e-books hold for libraries, with two overarching observations: e-books have arrived, and, as moderator Rick Weingarten [former director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy] noted in kicking off the discussion, e-books are not just another format—they are different, just as web pages are different from printed pages, and e-mail is different from regular mail. "And because e-books are different," he said, "what libraries do with them is different."


Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive Founder and Digital Librarian;

Sue Polanka, head of reference and instruction at Wright State University
and author of the e-book blog No Shelf Required;

Tom Peters, CEO of TAP Information Services

From the Article:

It was Kahle’s concerns about the developing e-book market that seemed to resonate most with librarians. “The e-book thing isn’t happening,” Kahle, noted “it has happened.” Kahle, who founded the Open Content Alliance, and Open Library project, a digitization program, offered a strong message to librarians: don’t let a few powerful corporations take control of the digital future. He expressed his longstanding concern over Google’s efforts to scan collections “and sell it back to us,” and urged libraries not to give up their traditional roles. “What libraries do is buy stuff, and lend it out,” he said, suggesting that libraries “digitize what we have to, and buy what we can,” but not to let the promise of licensed access turn libraries into agents for a few major corporations. “We do so at our peril.” He also urged more dialogue with publishers and vendors about the future of digital content and the role of libraries—but he also urged bold action.

Much More in the Complete PW article by Andrew Albansese

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