The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Monday, March 15, 2004

Help the St. Joseph County Library Follow Copyright Law!

Quicker than a Ray of Light

"Bob and I went out to CIL to present in the Learning Track on motivating and celebrating staff with technology. We wanted to show off the work we did on RAY OF LIGHT, the SJCPL staff day video. I blogged about it here. ROL is a fast motion day in the life of our library system which illustrates how EVERYONE plays a role in the library's mission!

The presentation was a success and the audience seemed to really like the video! There were some whoops and hollars! Then we did questions and of course the discussion turned to copyright. Yes, we used ROL by Madonna with no clearance but it was as much fair use as it could be: not sold, distributed, or copied.

I told them we tried last year to reach out to Madonna's people and never got anywhere. I think this is a great idea for libraries to internally and externally market themselves -- hey Madonna... can you give me a minute of your time to chat about it?" [Tame the Web]

This is the perfect illustration of one of the major problems with copyright today. I want Michael to post the video online so that every library can see how great it is, but they'll get slapped with a cease-and-desist order if they do. When we discussed this informally at the conference, Bob said they tried several times to get through to someone at Warner Brothers in order to follow copyright compliance laws, but no one would give them the time of day.

So here we have the little Library that could and did (David) that can't get the attention of Warner Brothers (Goliath) just so they can show the fantastic video they did for their staff in-service day (and let me tell you, the video TOTALLY ROCKS!). Would SJCPL make a single dime off it if they post it online? No. In fact, it would probably cost them loads in bandwidth.

So what is the Library supposed to do in a case like this? They can't afford to be a test case or a protest case, but their video deserves to be seen beyond the borders of their building, if for no other reason than to inspire other librarians. Heck, Apple should be promoting how the staff used Mac software and hardware to put together the homegrown video and maybe then they could make some new inroads in the library market (SJCPL is one of the few public library Mac houses I know of).

So I ask again, what can we do to help them? Anyone have Madonna's home phone number? Should we start an online petition? Is there any way to release it under a Creative Commons license that fully credits Warner Brothers?

We're drowning in draconian copyright laws - help!

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Come Join ListenIllinois!

Something else I haven't had a chance to mention is that we've opened up the second round of participation for ListenIllinois. You may recall this is our collaborative group purchase of Audible titles with the NOLA folks behind ListenOhio. Now we want to take the project statewide, so any Illinois library can join between now and May 3, provided its regional Library System agrees to provide the first line of technical support.

So, if you are at an Illinois library that would like to join or if you would like more information about the project, please feel free to contact me and we'll start talking. Naturally, I think it's a great deal.  ;-)

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I Forgot to Mention that I'll Be Speaking at the Audio E-Book Expo in October

"The Alliance Library System and the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center are pleased to announce an exciting event – 'Audio E-Book Expo: Exploring Digital Books and Content' on Friday, October 29 at Alliance Library System East Peoria. Put this date on your calendar to join us as we explore where the library field has been and where it is going in the area of audiobooks for everyone – adults, children, the visually impaired, the learning disabled, and more. Experts will share the latest in web-based ebook management systems, handheld players, and collaborative projects.

Key-note speakers include: Tom Peters of TAP Information Systems, Steve Potash, CEO of Overdrive, Inc., and Jenny Levine, 'the Shifted Librarian', Suburban Library System. Other speakers include Jane Chamberlain, Adult Services Manager at Bloomington Public Library, Lori Bell, Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, Sharon Ruda, Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service, and Diana Sussman of Southern Illinois Talking Book Center. There will also be time for exhibits and ideas! Cost for the day is only $25.00 which includes lunch.

For more information, contact Lori Bell at the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center, at (309) 694-9200, ext. 2128 or lbell@alliancelibrarysystem.com." [The Handheld Librarian]

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March Madness FYI

NCAA Schedule in Your Outlook Calendar

"The good folks at Calendar Updates have made the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament schedule available for download. As with all of their Outlook calendar downloads, this is free. Each calendar item does include links for buying stuff as well as additional program information. A great service that I've written about before (and undoubtedly will again)." [Marc's Outlook on Productivity]

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Librarians Take on sxsw

David Weinberger blogged today's librarian panel at sxsw, and it makes for very interesting reading. My first thought is how sad it is that Jon Udell was included on it. Well, not that he was included on it per se, but rather because it points out quite starkly that he's never gotten any similar recognition from libraries or librarians.

I'd like to officially encourage the folks behind the Internet Librarian conference and/or the Computers in Libraries conference (and any other conference) to invite Jon to give a presentation at the next event. Don't you think it's time we 1) officially recognize him for his contributions, 2) start hearing more from the outside world in general, and 3) ask to hear more from a library user who did something to our catalogs that we didn't do on our own and then made it available to the whole world?

I pointed at the screen when I read Dinah's comment, "Could libraries become a magazine, aggregating local sites?" Luckily, no one was around when I literally yelled, "RSS!!!!"

In addition, Liz's comments confirm my theory that the emerging topic in libraryland is social networking. It was the undercurrent buzz at CIL, rightly so.

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Audie Awards Bust

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) recently announced the 125 nominees for their 9th annual Audie audiobook awards. [via h2Oboro lib blog]

They’ll be running a contest beginning April 1 in which the public can vote on their favorites. I’ve been listening to more audiobooks ever since I joined Audible as a personal subscriber, and I love the service so much that I implemented a group purchase of Audible titles in Illinois.

It would be pretty difficult for someone to listen to all 125 titles (note: Word document file) in order to be an informed voter in the APA’s contest, but I wondered if it could be done. My hypothesis is that it can’t because publishers keep the majority of their titles in cassette and CD form and will not license them to Audible.

To prove my hypothesis and show just how out of touch these publishers are, I went through their list of 125 titles and checked to see if each one is currently available through Audible. All finalists were released between November 1, 2002, and October 31, 2003, so they’ve had plenty of time to get them to Audible.

The results: 79 of the 125 titles (63%) are NOT available in Audible, which means just 37% of the audiobook titles the industry thinks are the best are available online as a digital audiobook.

What’s wrong with this picture? Why isn’t every title available as a file I can load on my Treo to take with me? I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t all of these titles ALREADY AUDIOBOOKS, so there shouldn’t be much of a physical cost to give them to Audible, right? The publisher has already acquired the audiobook rights and paid the narrator, etc., right?

Now, I know that this isn't totally the publishers fault, because sometimes the author refuses to allow titles to be distributed in this format. For example, I've read that J.K. Rowling has refused to make the Harry Potter available in a purely digital format. This tells me that Ms. Rowling fails to recognize that it is far easier to rip one of the Harry Potter CDs than it would be to try cracking Audible's encryption. So ultimately, in the end all it does is deny potential readers the joy of listening to the title.

And in the end, I'm being denied the chance to listen to 79 of the "best" titles of the year because I don't want to carry around a multitude of CDs or cassettes. The flip side, of course, is that the industry is losing out on my dollars since I can't purchase those 79 titles, even if I wanted to.

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More Ideas for RSS from Library Catalogs

an RSS feed I want

"I want to be able to view the books I have

  • checked out
  • placed on hold

for all the libraries to which I belong. This would require some authentication, but I suspect that’s not a showstopper.

As it stands now, to check the books I have out (20-30 per week/library visit cycle), I have to:

  • login to the library’s website/authenticate
  • request a listing from my account,
  • and then write down the names (printing them would be wasteful).

Why not an RSS feed? Then I can just call out the names and let my little bookworms go gather them.

I shouldn’t grumble: my two local1 libraries2 already do so many things right (they have websites, of course, but also allow you to query their databases, order books, request purchases, etc., including emailing you when ordered books come in)." [cloudy, chance of sun breaks]

Isn't it too bad that the vendors aren't in on these discussions? I hope to contact Innovative to jumpstart discussions soon, but I'll just note that I did talk to someone at CIL who works for a major ILS vendor and who said, "Oh, we can do that. We will do that."

So all of you other vendors better get your butts in gear.

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