March 31, 2006
Thanks to all for participating in the Scholarship and Libraries in Transition Symposium blog. Comments are now closed.
March 11, 2006
General Conference Feedback
We are interested in keeping the lines of communication open beyond the symposium. Please feel free to continue commenting in the specific discussion threads. Thanks to everyone for a successful symposium!
This thread is open for general conference feedback.
Discussion Thread for Clifford Lynch
Discussion Thread for Public Policy Panel
Please comment here on presentations by Bruce James, Brian Kahin, and James Hilton.
More Conference Blogs
A Place to Buy (or Browse) Accelerando
If you have a few minutes after the symposium you should wander down to Karl Pohrt's store, Shaman Drum. Turn right out of Rackham, walk down to State, turn left and walk about a block and half -- the bricks, mortar and print will provide an interesting counterpoint to the electronic aura of the past day and a half.
Places for Conference Feedback
We welcome your feedback on the conference as whole. We'll keep the blog up and linked from the symposium web site if you'd like to use this forum. We'll create a thread for general feedback. For those who don't want to bother with the registration process or who would prefer a less public venue, please send email to the conference information address: email@example.com.
The Afterlife of the Conference
There have been several questions about whether the webcast and/or presentations will be available after the symposium. There will be few routes to follow up on the conference. Sometime next week the webcast will be available from the symposium web site. Those powerpoint presentations that we can acquire (this may not be possible with all of them) will the available from the web site and will also be stored in Deep Blue, UM's institutional repository Finally, the June issue of The Journal of Electronic Publishing will provide summary and commentary on the symposium.
Discussion Thread for Economics Panel
Please comment here on the presentations by Paul Courant, Karl Pohrt, and Hal Varian.
March 10, 2006
Many thanks to all the symposium presenters, moderators, and organizers for such a productive series of discussions. Thanks also to the mblog authors and contributors. Keep the posts coming!
Let's finish the day by sounding off on highlights, forecasts, and questions. What will/did you talk about at dinner tonight? What do you look forward to for tomorrow?
Is Dan Greenstein a publisher or isn't he? Does it matter? What constitutes a publisher these days?
mass digitization and the steamroller of technology
There is a school of thinking that technology is an autonomous, unstoppable force -- a steamroller that steady moves along and crushes things in its way -- and an irresistible temptation for those who implement it. Frankenstein could not resist the opportunity to create his monster, Oppenheimer (and his colleagues) could not resist the opportunity to create the atomic bomb even though at the time it was thought that an atomic reaction might ignite the earth's entire atmosphere, and Truman could not resist the opportunity to use it even though it was not needed for victory over Japan. If Oppenheimer or Truman hadn't done what they did -- one might argue -- someone else would have, and perhaps that person have been working "for the other side".
But these discussions inevitably turn to fears of the unintended consequences of technology and how to avoid these. In the cloning (and human cloning) debate, while some jurisdictions have taken to instituting bans of the practice, others argue that the development of this technique is inevitable whether it's outlawed or not. Likewise, one might say that guns or drugs will inevitably be part of society, so the "Dutch model" for drugs -- of treating them as a public health rather than criminal issue -- will work the best in the long run. You need to steer a technology's development rather than attempt to fully control. The steamroller can't be stopped, but you can move things out of its ways or even change its direction slightly.
What if we think of mass digitization as autonomous technology? What unintended consequences might it have? While the speakers and audience members have been quite supportive of new paradigms in information services, scholarly communication, and intellectual property, what fears do other librarians and users have about Google's partnership with libraries?
There is a whole literature in the library community discussing the "Google effect" (and Amazon.com effect) upon today's users and their expectations. But let's think ahead to what might happen in five years, when Google possesses digital copies of a significant portion of scholarly literature, plus trade publications (all under Google Book Search). While U-M, for example, will provide access to its own copy of the content digitized by Google, it seems doubtful that it will ever have the visibility of Google's larger collection. Once Google accumulates such a large collection, it will have incredible market -- and legal -- leverage. If finding books and then buying them becomes even easier (as with the latest announcement from Google Book Search ), there's less reason to have a browseable library -- even a virtual one -- available. Once Google fends off the current copyright lawsuit and continues with the "take it or leave it approach" in its contracts with publishers (as Alicia Wise mentioned), it might push for changes in law to give it more control over its content -- much like the roles other large companies are playing in the proposed WIPO Treaty for the Protection of the Rights of Broadcasting, Cablecasting and Webcasting Organizations.
William Patry wrote on his blog, "So in the Google project, why should we care if there are server copies? [. . .] It in no way harms copyright owners unless the project becomes something else, namely a full-text service which then is a market substitute." Google tells us they all want to make information available for all, but they're a for-profit corporation accountable to shareholders. Won't asserting rights over their content become an irresistible temptation, and won't the scale of Google's collection give it a bigger advantage over libraries than even Amazon.com and Google have over libraries right now?
Can we move things out of the way of the steamroller of mass digitization, or alter its course slightly, to prevent oligopolic interests from gaining control of information? The Open Access movement has been trying to reassert control over content from oligopolic publishers, but should people with sympathies similar to the OA people give another corporation such leverage? We can say that we've retained the right to our content, but will it matter?
Alicia Wise mentioned these concerns more amicably and with less philosophical background. I began composing this before she spoke, and am referring to a course on technological change I once took and to discussions with library colleagues.
Discussion Thread for Publishing Panel
Please share your feedback on this panel.
The Text Creation Partnership
For more on the TCP, see the TCP web site.
Google Books on the Move
Speaking of new economic models and Google . . . just today saw this announcement from Google to its publisher partners about enabling charging for access to online books through the book search:
"This new feature of the Google Books Partner Program enables US
and UK publishers to sell online access to their books, directly
through Google Book Search. This is a completely optional program
that offers you full control. Here are some of the key features:
- You choose which books you want to offer.
- You experiment with the price.
- The initial launch of this feature is limited to the US and UK.
Other countries will be added over time.
We're still in the development stages. Publishers can enable this
feature and set prices now, but Google Book Search users can't buy
online access to titles just yet.
We'll be updating our Terms and Conditions for the Google Books
Partner Program to reflect this new offering. Sometime in the next
few weeks you'll be asked to review the amended Terms and
Conditions form when you log in to your account."
Discussion Thread for Research, Teaching, and Learning Panel
The blog "floor" is open for your feedback on this panel.
Breaking old dichotomies and associations
Tim O’Reilly made a distinction between open, collaboratively authored works and the curated book experience. These now seem to align with “free” and “for fee” which means a lot of our traditions of assigning value tell us that the controlled, conventionally authored experience is somehow worth more. And sometimes it is. And sometimes it isn’t. We need to break apart chains of association so that characteristics like single-authored, closed, for fee (or collaborative, open, free) don’t necessarily align but are rather a set of strategies from which creators and distributors choose depending on the nature of content, audience, and purpose . . . a new kind of economic and intellectual rhetoric.
Candidate for Best Symposium Quotation
"I love to Google myself. It's a form of narcissism. It's much better than a mirror, at least in my case."--Jean-Claude Guédon
A Few Things Heard on the Way Out to Lunch
"A President who takes questions . . . wow, cool."
"A public librarian speaking at an academic conference . . . wow, cool."
"That Mike Keller's hair . . . wow, cool."
User-defined book slices?
Tim O'Reilly's mention of building a digital economy and user-enhanced networked services got me wondering whether too many discussions of e-books are tied to the idea of exchanging book-sized objects. Once digitized, there's no reason a user should receive book-content they don't desire in order to use the portion that they do desire. Robust searching and retrieving of slices of books would require some great tagging effort, but why not let enthusiastic readers contribute those tags? A user interested enough to list literary references to "Kilroy was here", for instance, could also mark the spans of text which make those references.
Social Good versus Economic Value?
Those of us who argue for liberal digitization and distribution rights of older books, particularly those that may be orphaned, seem to be walking an increasingly fine line in our arguments. One of our most power arguments is that these works have a considerable social and cultural value despite their age and thus should be a common good. But if we are too successful in this argument we will also convince those publishers who do or may have distribution rights that this correlates to economic value. Thet then have incentive to be even more conservative in keeping their content close and closed. What aspects of this new digital economy can help us reconcile the social need for broad public access with the economic needs of publishers?
Safari Books Online
On the Orphan Works Issue
Those following the orphan works problem that Tim O'Reilly has been discussing might be interested in the new Canadian experiment in creating a public domain registry. It will be interesting to see if it can scale. The announcement follows:
Access Copyright and Creative Commons Canada Announce Public Domain Registry
Ground-breaking project will feature globally searchable catalogue of Canadian culture
March 3, 2006. Toronto, ON Access Copyright, The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency and Creative Commons Canada, in partnership with Creative Commons Corporation in the US, today announced the development of a Canadian public domain registry.
The ground-breaking project the most comprehensive of its kind in Canada will create an online, globally searchable catalogue of published works that are in the Canadian public domain.
Canada has a rich cultural heritage of literature, music and fine art that is in the public domain just waiting to be freely enjoyed, said Marcus Bornfreund of Creative Commons Canada, a non-profit organization that works in collaboration with Creative Commons US. The problem until now was that there was no easy way to identify whether or not works are in the public domain. This registry will change that.
There is currently no one place where information about the public domain is collected. The registry will make published works in the Canadian public domain easily identifiable and accessible in an online catalogue. The project will develop in two stages first, a comprehensive registry of works by Canadian creators that are in the public domain will be established.
Eventually, the reach of the registry will expand to include the published works of creators from other countries. The public domain registry will be a non-profit project and freely accessible to the public online.
Were excited about this partnership that will enhance and preserve Canadian culture by making Canadian works in the public domain more widely accessible both here and abroad, said Maureen Cavan, Executive Director of Access Copyright, Canadas leading copyright licensing agency, which represents a vast repertoire of copyright protected works. Creators looking for source material and educators looking for classroom content will have this free database at their fingertips.
The Wikimedia Foundation, developers of the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia, will supply software that will allow the public to contribute information to the registry. "The public domain is our shared cultural heritage, and the best ground for the great new ideas of the future," said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. "Without access to the public domain, we are cut off from our past, and therefore cut ourselves off from our future."
The innovative registry's backbone will be Access Copyrights Rights Management System, the largest database of copyright information in Canada. Individuals will be able to use the registry to determine whether a published work is in the public domain. The registry will also link to digital versions of the work, and provide information about where a paper copy of the work can be purchased.
Quick and easy access to legally available content is vital as we move further into the digital age, said Roanie Levy, Access Copyrights Director of Legal and External Affairs. The public domain registry has limitless possibilities and will place Canadian cultural content at the leading edge of the public domain.
Information about the partners
Access Copyright, The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency, is a not-for-profit agency established in 1988 by Canadian publishers and creators to license public access to copyright works. The agency now represents a vast international repertoire along with more than 8,000 Canadian creators and publishers. Access Copyright works for both users of copyright works and copyright owners by offering convenient, inexpensive and easy licensing solutions for users of copyright works and a mechanism for copyright owners to receive compensation for the copying of their works.
Creative Commons (CC) is a not-for-profit organization, founded in 2001, that promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic workswhether owned or in the public domain. Creative Commons licences provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors, artists, and educators that build upon the "all rights reserved" concept of traditional copyright to offer a voluntary "some rights reserved" approach. It is sustained by the generous support of various foundations including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation as well as members of the public from around the world.
Creative Commons Canada (CC Canada) is an organization that works in collaboration with Creative Commons US and is dedicated to providing information and tools to a growing network of Canadians passionate about the effect of copyright laws on our arts and culture. As part of an international effort to facilitate the availability of open-access licences, Creative Commons Canada translated and maintains the popular Creative Commons licence suite for use under Canadian law.
Discussion Thread for Libraries Panel
Didn't get a chance to comment or ask a question on floor? Watching the webcast and want to speak up? Please comment below.
Alicia Wise Interview
Ann Arbor's "Homeless Dave," who conducts smart interviews on a teeter-totter in his backyard (!), has published a Q & A on his website Teeter Talk with Alicia Wise, who will be speaking on the Publishing panel this afternoon at 3:30.
O'Reilly Talk Moved to 11am
Due to flight delays, Tim O'Reilly's talk has been moved to 11am.
Coleman's Speech to Association of American Publishers
For people interested in Mary Sue Coleman's address to the Association of American Publishers, you can download the text or listen to excerpts.
March 09, 2006
Welcome to the SLT blog!
You've likely found your way here from the Scholarship and Libraries in Transition symposium. University of Michigan University Library staff have set up this blog to support and extend the discussion begun at the symposium. We anticipate that the event will generate lots of great ideas, and feel that a blog would be a great place to capture these conversations that will continue beyond the timeframe and outside the auditorium.
We welcome your participation in this discussion. Several people will be posting during and after the symposium, so please check in with us for the latest udpates.