two links from the internet and one from my life

  • BOFH stands for Bastard Operator From Hell. This entry is about vampire librarians, or something.
  • Can architects save librarians from the Internet? Slashdot talking about Slate.
  • ListenUpVermont, a project to get participating Vermont libraries together to be able to lend digital audiobooks to their patrons is going live this week. I’d love to say this was my doing but mostly I’ve just consulted with a local non-automated library about how they can make this work for them. This is the result of an informal (possibly formalized now) consortium of Vermont libraries from all over the state lending titles via Overdrive. In just browsing the collection I’m sort of surprised at how many titles can be burned to CD (and transferred to ipods) I was expecting less. Big congrats to Stephanie Chase from the Stowe Free Library for getting this project going.

7 Responses to “two links from the internet and one from my life”

  1. scrappylibrarian Says:

    wait – what do you mean transferred to ipods? Overdrive is ipod unfriendly – do you mean via burning to cd and then into another, separate computer, and then into the ipod? To me, that equates not ipod friendly because it is just too ridiculous.

  2. jessamyn Says:

    Yeah at some level if you have patrons with ipods you have two options, maybe 3.

    1. lend them a different MP3 player
    2. burn the digital media to CD and put it in their ipods
    3. tell them they are screwed because we went with a vendor that make their media incompatible with the most popular MP3 player in the world.

    While I think #2 is a little ridiculous, it’s less ridiculous than #3 which to my mind is insane.

  3. ahniwa Says:

    I imagine someone could come up with some other workarounds. I also imagine, though, that many of those workarounds would be copyright-unfriendly. Maybe put some pressure on Overdrive to get with the program?

    The Washington State Library has a similar program in the works for this year, called “Off the Page: Downloadable Audiobooks for Washington.” I think consortial arrangements like this are awesome, and I’m glad to see them working with cool formats like downloadable audiobooks. Yet another way libraries are totally rad.

  4. Eric Says:

    It’s not really an option of putting pressure on Overdrive. As I understand it, they would love to purchase the rights to Apple’s DRM format. However, Apple is not interested in licensing it to anyone. Hopefully, something will change eventually.

  5. Stephanie Says:

    The Green Mountain Library Consortium is almost formalized, and already at work on project two (customizing a Koha-based catalog for members) and project three (additional databases for members). Hurrah!

  6. jessamyn Says:

    Eric, that’s my understanding too.

    However, part of the issue is that Overdrive’s check in and check out and expiry mechanisms currently only function with Windows Media Player for the PC. This means they made a business decision at some point to not develop something that worked on Macs and something that worked on iPods. I understand that’s how they wanted to do it and it makes sense with their plan, but I don’t see it as Apple standing in their way as much as them making a choice that was going to require information from Apple that they didn’t have yet and couldn’t, as it seems, get.

    I don’t think Apple has a DRM option that allows for expiration of content, do they? However iPods do play standard media formats like MP3 in addition to AAC files which have Apple’s DRM on them. The problem is that you can’t wrap MP3s in a DRM wrapper using any mechanism, to the best of my knowledge and so Overdrive and Microsoft partnered to get this working.

    Overdrive may have no actual way to get content check-out-able in a Mac or iPod environemnt, but I still think it’s appropiate for individual patrons and even librarians to say that we’d like them to find a way to make it happen, or that they made a bad decision. I think that pressure is one of the reasons Overdrive made a decision to have so much of their content burnable to CD, to appease people who didn’t have an MP3 player, or who did have an iPod and iTunes.

  7. Eric Says:

    Jessamyn,

    I don’t agree that they made a bad decision, just one that was economically feasible at the time. When you are starting up something new, it’s hard to throw a lot of money at it right away. I definitely agree that it is important for us to remind them that we would like for them to find a way to make mac/ipod compatibility possible though:)