Monthly Archives: February 2011

whose ebooks?

I have been a proud Kindle owner since July 2008 (yes, my first generation Kindle is still going strong), so while I don’t borrow ebooks from the library, I’m a big supporter of ebooks in general.  I can’t ignore the discussion of HarperCollins’ ridiculous new ebook policies that has taken over the library blogosphere and Twitterverse.  If you haven’t read up on it yet, check out Bobbi Newman’s blog post which sums up the issues well and links to many other blog posts and articles on the subject.

What’s most concerning to me is that HarperCollins may be targeting libraries and library patrons today, but will their plan of attack hit ebook owners in the future?  The thought is horrifying.  Hopefully the collective response against HarperCollins will show other publishers that this strict route is not a good move.

Below is the eBook User’s Bill of Rights, drafted by Sarah Houghton-Jan and Andy Woodworth (I think).

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights is a statement of the basic freedoms that should be granted to all eBook users.

The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

Every eBook user should have the following rights:

  • the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
  • the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
  • the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
  • the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

I believe in the free market of information and ideas.

I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can flourish when their works are readily available on the widest range of media. I believe that authors, writers, and publishers can thrive when readers are given the maximum amount of freedom to access, annotate, and share with other readers, helping this content find new audiences and markets. I believe that eBook purchasers should enjoy the rights of the first-sale doctrine because eBooks are part of the greater cultural cornerstone of literacy, education, and information access.

Digital Rights Management (DRM), like a tariff, acts as a mechanism to inhibit this free exchange of ideas, literature, and information. Likewise, the current licensing arrangements mean that readers never possess ultimate control over their own personal reading material. These are not acceptable conditions for eBooks.

I am a reader. As a customer, I am entitled to be treated with respect and not as a potential criminal. As a consumer, I am entitled to make my own decisions about the eBooks that I buy or borrow.

I am concerned about the future of access to literature and information in eBooks.  I ask readers, authors, publishers, retailers, librarians, software developers, and device manufacturers to support these eBook users’ rights.

These rights are yours.  Now it is your turn to take a stand.  To help spread the word, copy this entire post, add your own comments, remix it, and distribute it to others.  Blog it, Tweet it (#ebookrights), Facebook it, email it, and post it on a telephone pole.

To the extent possible under law, the person who associated CC0 with this work has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

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Posted by on February 28, 2011 in access, ebooks



hyping links

Specialty Public Libraries Offer More
Here’s an interesting idea to consider: public libraries should start to develop different creative specialties.

Secrets of a Mind-Gamer
Have you heard of memory athletes?  Their Inception-esque technique worked well for me, at least when I tried one of the tests.

The Cherokees vs. Andrew Jackson
Adapted from the book Toward the Setting Sun by Brian Hicks, this Smithsonian Magazine article details the fight of the Cherokees to stay on their land.

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in links


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digital history: to read list

I meant to write a real post this week, but life (procrastination?) got in the way.  So much for my time management skills.  Instead, I’m offering a few articles that I’ve been meaning to read about digital history.  I’ve looked through several course syllabi on digital history because I doubt I’ll have the chance to take a class on the subject (though I’m dying to attend a THATCamp)  — so here’s my attempt at self-education.

I’m also kind of obsessed with the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University but have yet to browse all their projects.  And I seriously need to catch up on Digital Campus podcasts.

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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in digital humanities, links, reading list


hyping links

The Portrait and the Nazis
Maria Altmann fought a long legal battle to win back her uncle’s paintings that were confiscated by the Nazis during the Austrian occupation.  I just finished reading Edmund van der Waal’s The Hare with Amber Eyes, which also touches on this question of restitution for art and other possessions taken from Jewish families during this time period.

Digital Age Is Slow to Arrive in Rural America
Only 60% of households in rural America use broadband, which is 10% less than urban households.  This story also links to a national broadband map developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Information technology and economic change:  The impact of the printing press
Previously there was no economic research to demonstrate the printing press’ benefits, but now there is evidence that economic growth was much higher in cities that used the printing press between 1450-1600.

The Case for Generosity
This story from Fast Company discusses how the Internet facilitates generosity.

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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in links


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hack library school

Check out my post over at the Hack Library School blog — it documents my day this past Monday and discusses how I manage my time as a student while working full-time.  And while you’re there, make sure to read all the other blog posts.  Hack Library School is a great resource and discussion space for library and information science students.  The mission:

The Web is our Campus.

This is an invitation to participate in the redefinitions of library school using the web as a collaborative space outside of any specific university or organization. Imagine standards and foundations of the profession that we will create, decided upon by us, outside of the institutional framework. Ideas like the democratization of the semantic web, crowdsourcing, and folksonomies allow projects like this to exist and we should be taking advantage of it. What will the information professions be next year if we define it for ourselves today? If we had a voice in the development of curriculum, what would that degree entail? This is our challenge to you; participate or come up with a better idea. How would you hack library school?

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Posted by on February 16, 2011 in day in the life, library school, links



discovering vivian maier

Photography by Vivian Maier


Articles have been circulating about street photographer Vivian Maier, whose work (pictured above) was only discovered after her death in 2009.  I’m interested in Maier not only because I like her photography, but because I find the story of her discovery captivating.  If you haven’t already heard the story, the basic gist is that back in 2007 John Maloof bought about 30,000 of Maier’s negatives in an auction, hoping to find photographs of Portage Park for a Chicago history book he was co-writing.  Maloof didn’t uncover Maier’s name until more than a year later, and when he googled her found that she had passed away just days earlier.

Since then Maloof has acquired a collection of 100,000 Maier negatives, in addition to other personal belongings, and posts some of these photographs on his blog.  Not too much is known about Maier’s background, as she was rather private about her personal history, but we know that she worked as a nanny while photographing on the side.  For more details, read this Chicago Magazine article.  This website by another collector also features her photography.

The story of Maier’s discovery demonstrates how the new — technology — helps us explore the old, which is a theme running through one of my classes this semester (History of Books and Libraries).  One of my goals while working in archives is to discover previously untold stories and share them.  While I often enjoy learning the details of a person’s life, I have to ask questions about privacy (especially when one has passed away recently) — would Maier, who preferred her life to remain private, appreciate people trying to uncover her past?  Should we just enjoy her work without digging into her history?

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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in photographs, privacy


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hyping links

Open Thread Thursday: Library School
Check out the library school discussion over at Agnostic, Maybe.

The State of Publishing
I’m a huge fan of McSweeney’s, and this is a great series exploring different parts of the book industry.

Saying No to $1 Billion
This article from the Atlantic‘s March 2011 issue examines why the Sioux Nation isn’t accepting federal money won over 30 years ago.
Can you manage a monthly budget of low wages as a restaurant server, office temp, or warehouse worker?  The website’s premise:

Your savings are gone. You’ve lost your house. Accept the challenge to see if you can make it through the month on your last $1,000, learning quickly how changes in employment, housing, medical costs and other expenses can create an unexpected shortfall.
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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in library school, links


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