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Archive for December, 2008

Pew Releases 3rd Report on Internet

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has issued the third report on The Future of the Internet. There are a lot of interesting opinions contained in the report and it is worth reviewing. In particular:

* – More than 3/4 agreed that the mobile phone will be the main connection tool for accessing the internet.

* – Nearly 2/3 of interviewed experts disagree that copyright protection will be addressed technologically.

Of particular interest for our community is the section on copyright and IP. Included in the report are some interesting perspectives on the future control of IP. The responses cover the gamut of approaches to existent approaches to the issues of licensing, control and user-generated content. I was slightly disappointed that there didn’t seem to be any truly innovative approaches to this very large problem.

OLE to hold a web seminar on Evergreen 12/9

Friday, December 5th, 2008

The OLE Project will be hosting a free webinar on December 9th discussing the Evergreen project. run by the Georgia Public Library Service.  Earlier this fall, at the NISO Collaborative Resource Sharing seminar, two of the presenters in this webinar, Julie Walker and Elizabeth McKinney, spoke about the Evergreen project.  Their presentation is available here.  

There is also an article in the forthcoming issue of ISQ on the OLE Project.  The issue will be available online soon.  

More information is on the OLE website

From the site:  

December 9, 2008

5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

John Little will host a webcast discussion with the principle developers and drivers of the Evergreen Project. The Webcast will be open to the first 100 participants, recorded for playback, and made available on the Oleproject.org site. To Register for the Webcast: Register Now

Participants include:

• John Little, ILS Support Section Head, Duke University

• Julie Walker, Deputy State Librarian, Georgia Public Library Service

• Tim Daniels, Assistant State Librarian

• Elizabeth McKinney, PINES Program Director

• Chris Sharp, PINES System Administrator

Harvard endowment takes huge hit

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

AP reported today that Harvard’s endowment took a significant hit in the past four months, loosing more than 20% of its value, or roughly $8 billion.  They are also expecting a further 10% drop by next June.  Many organizations with endowment funds will likely show similar drops.  This will  create many challenges for institutions and organizations that rely heavily on these funds.  Probably, there will also be cutbacks in philanthropic grant funding as well.  Tighten your belts everyone.

Life partners with Google to post photo archive online

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Life magazine, which ceased as an ongoing publication in April of 2007, has partnered with Google to digitize and post the magazine’s vast photo archive.  Most of the collection has never been seen publicly and amounts to a huge swath of America’s visual history since the 1860s.   The release of the collection was announced on the Google Blog.  The first part of the collection is now online, with the remaining 80% being digitized over the next “few months”.  Of course, this does not mean that all images in Life will be online, only those that were produced by the staff photographers (i.e., where Life holds the copyright), not the famous freelancers.

I can find no where any mention of money exchanged either from Google for the rights or for a revenue stream to support the ongoing work, although one can purchase prints of the images.  From a post on this from paidcontent.org:

  Time Inc.’s hopes, Life president Andy Blau explains: “We did this deal for really one reason, to drive traffic to Life.com. We wanted to make these images available to the greater public … everything else from that is really secondary.”  

While exploring the collection, I also noticed Google’s Image Labler, a game to tag images.  The goal of the game is to get points by matching your tags with those of another random player, when you both see the same images.  The game was launched in September of 2006. While I spent about 5 minutes using it, what is truly scary is the number of points raked up by the “all time leaders”. As of today, “Yew Half Maille” had collected 31,463,230. Considering that I collected about 4,000 points in my 5 minutes, how much time are people spending doing this?

Atlantic Records posts more digital sales than CDs

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

Late last week, one of the largest music labels announced that its sales of digital files exceeded the revenue generated by CDs.  As reported in the New York TimesAltantic Records saw 51% of its sales generated by digital sales.  This was significantly more than Atlantic’s parent company, Warner Music Group, which reported only 27% of its total sales from digital distribution. 

It should come as no surprise that digital music is quickly replacing physical media.  One need only think of the weight and mess of thousands of CDs, versus a nearly unlimited amount on an iPod or streaming on demand.  The question is when will other media follow?  Some magazines are slowly getting rid of print in favor of online.  It will be some time before display technology exceeds the user experience of print on paper.  In some ways scholarly journal publishing is already headed down this path.  The rest of publishing is slower to adapt.  However, several tipping points will likely be reached fairly soon. 

* – Display technology needs to improve, so that the user experience is comparable to print

* - Standardization around some from of reader, or at least a common file format working on different devices

* - A Napster-like social movement among the broader tech-savvy early adopters (not regarding free distribution, necessarily) which pushes e-books and the like to digital.

* – A breadth and depth of available content to make the purchase of the reader worthwhile.

* – Mass production of readers so that they are no longer $300+  

* – Preservation strategies need to be improved 

 

Many of these issues are consensus based and awaiting either standards or adoption of existing standards.