Archive for the ‘digital libraries’ Category

State of Wikipedia

from : http://jess3.com/the-state-of-wikipedia/ (check the link for additional goodness)



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My favorite news database is PressDisplay. More than likely you have free access with your library card. Check out your public library website list of databases or call your local librarian.

PressDisplay touts itself with:

Over 1,000 U.S. and international newspapers in 40 languages. Newspapers are available in full-color, full-page format with a 60-day archive.

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Is this the end?

The Apple ipad heralds the end of books (and/or traditional bookends)! I knew this device would be magical and unicorn like, but never would have thought that it would destroy the physical print format we’ve loved for eons; well not quite that long. 

[via gizmodo.com]

You can find my waxings on the death of books here.

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Even for a librarian due dates can prove troublesome. I checked out an old copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes from the local library and was immediately engrossed in the quick, clever, and detailed stories. However,  it was placed on reserve for another patron and I was out of luck in finishing it up. In addition, I was in the middle of a nail-biter that had me at the edge of my seat and it left me guessing. I returned the book promptly but with a plan. Knowing that the title was out of copyright I would suffer through an electronic version.

Horrible computer text and formatting awaited me as I pulled up a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories from Project Gutenberg  and made mince meat of the many stories in no time. Yet, it wasn’t over- like the Grinch whose heart grew larger with experience so did mine! My heart was developing a fondness for digital books like none I had ever experienced. It was then that I knew that I needed an e-book program that could provide: bookmarks, large collection organization, dual page viewing, epub access, and more. I tested several programs but none compared to the shining efforts of Adobe Digital Editions! Yes, Adobe! Oh how it holds out of copyright works and displays them for my viewing pleasure.

[image from downloadsquad.com]

Today I find myself quite sold on digital books, if the software and price are right,  in the aforementioned case: free. However, I would gladly pay for access to comic books and select titles. Still a great wealth of information exists in the public domain waiting to be grabbed up and digested by human brains. Check out the top downloads from Project Gutenberg and indubitably you’ll find a handful of titles that will leave you saying, “I’ve been meaning to read that”.

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A brief news update  from the ABA provides this quote:

A preview of WestlawNext also reveals it no longer requires users to learn the structure of its underlying databases. Instead, it allows users to enter a simple search term in natural language. As of late December, the company was debating whether to eliminate Boolean searches from the new platform or keep them as an option.

I couldn’t imagine a database that was useful, reliable, and worth my time NOT having boolean. It’s hard enough sorting through irrelevant results or finding hits without structured logical search methods.  Many companies are seeing revenues drop (see economy), but when you’re a powerhouse that has grown 5+ % for years, you can ride out a few bad years (w/drops less than 2%);  or you can lay people off, disfigure your business model/structure, and put George Boole into the trash compactor. If you want better market positioning, I always felt that more face time, customer satisfaction and service went a lot further than goofy tech updates and costly ice sculptures (looks like West pulled the images since Law Librarian Blog linked to it).  Perhaps I’m being too harsh, we’ll see how the new platforms plays out and I may soon be championing product(s) and their dedication to progressing humankind!

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EBSCO is a massive database/content provider that most people ONLY access through their public libraries or school libraries. They collect a massive amount of information and have recently acquired rights to several magazines to put online in full-text:

  • Time
  • History Today
  • People
  • Sports Illustrated
  • US News and World Report
  • Entrepreneur
  • Forbes
  • Fortune
  • Harvard Business Review
  • Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
  • Money
  • Science
  • New Scientist
  • [from The Distant Librarian] Nothing new really, many databases own exclusive rights to books, magazines, publishers, etc. This prevents competition and allows them to charge whatever they want. Is it crummy yes, but it isn’t illegal. But what really gets my goat is this from “The Major Magazines” :

    The Major Magazines felt that they were losing subscribers because public library patrons were able to access their content w/o paying directly for a subscription.

    Brilliant move, blame the public library when they should point the finger at themselves and their antiquated business models.   The economy is doing poorly and people/businesses will pay for content that is relevant and not free.  All the titles mentioned are no match for the amount of FREE information available on the Internet. I can read about sports, money, business, gossip, science, and much more in detailed and fulfilling ways. The commentary on the Internet is also more enjoyable than the major magazines’. I don’t know the numbers, but when I worked in the public library people weren’t lining up to get the latest Times or asking when the next issue of Forbes was coming.

    Maybe, just maybe, they are loosing subscribers because print magazines cost money and people are measuring the value of their dollar more than ever. Print subscriptions to major topics don’t make much sense if you have an Internet connection. Offer the content online for free with ads  and offer the print to libraries and the few who want it.  And if you want to stick with print- find a niche a very developed and specific niche and go for it. I can name a handful of cycling and business magazines that are area and subject specific, beating out web sources; however, they maintain an online presence that compliments the print. Major mags have the name power to secure massive online hits and advertisement deals, accusing public libraries for revenue loss is a weak and desperate move.

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    Quick Blurb

    It’s been a hot minute and I thought I should share a wonderful article titled Understanding the Limitations – and Maximizing the Value – of eBooks. Here is a wonderful excerpt to get you in the mood:

    “Books are… more than abstract information. As a printed copy of an author’s work, hardcopy books are physical objects that are owned by their purchasers. And, under the long-established First Sale Doctrine, owners of these physical objects have the right to sell, give, or otherwise redistribute books as they see fit. This legal right supports a vibrant used book market as well as the informal practice of lending books to friends and colleagues.”

    Yes a juicy morsel no doubt. Such a yummy piece has inclined me to download Mobipocket  Kobo in an attempt to read Balzac from the comfort of anywhere. This doth prove that I am quite an exciting individual living on the edge!

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