Thursday, June 28, 2012

Internet Archive's Peter Brantley wants librarians to take a more active role in the digital transition

The Digital Shift writes about a presentation made by the Internet Archive's Peter Brantley at the American Library Association Conference. Here's a summary:

* As self-published titles comprise more and more of the total number of titles published each year, there's more pressure on public libraries to make at least some of them available. However, there's no way for libraries to get eBooks for lending from some of the biggest self-publishing vendors, including Kindle Direct Publishing.

* The Canadian Urban Libraries Council and eBOUND Canada are working to build "a national public library infrastructure for the storage and distribution of digital content that would also manage lending agreements with publishers as well as transactions between libraries and patrons."

* The IDPF's search for a "lightweight" DRM for EPUB, in Brantley's view, could result in a replacement for Adobe's Content Server for libraries. Brantley said “Adobe Content Server is a very poorly supported software that has seen better days. It is not well loved by anyone who uses it, and it also imposes a lot of technical and organizational burdens on libraries.”

* On the basis of discussions that he had at BEA, Brantley believes that some publishers are willing to consider exploring alternative DRM schemes with libraries.

* Brantley pointed to the Unglue.it project and the Library License being proposed by the Harvard Library Innovation Laboratory as interesting ways to make more eBooks available to libraries. Unglue.it uses a crowdfunding model to underwrite reprinting and free distribution of out-of-print titles, and the Library License would grant libraries full digital rights to titles on the basis of time since publication or sales of the title over time.

* Brantley said that the West Coast technology companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft have become major players in the publishing industry--the first three, through their eBook sales, and Microsoft through its partnership with Barnes & Noble.
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