One of the fun parts of the Symposium this wekeend was seeing Brewster Kahle talk about stuff. He started out by talking about this book Libraries of the Future that he wanted to scan and put on the Internet Archive. He then talked further about how figuring out who owned the copyrights for it was a total pain in the ass. I’m not even sure if he ever did figure it out; he even had MIT’s librarians working on it. The book is online anyhow. I haven’t looked at books in the Open Library project in a while but how slick is this? Full and slightly messy text here which, amusingly, ends with: PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET.
Brewster Kahle at TED, discussing free digital libraries
“I’m a librarian. What I am trying to do is bring all of the world’s knowledge to as many people as want to read it. The idea of using technology is perfect for us.” Brewster Kahle gives a twenty minute talk about free culture and libraries and digitzation at TED.
remaindered links and a short report
People have been sending me some great links which I’ve been consolidating for a “best of inbox” post here today. This is a rainy Vermont weekend coming up which means indoor projects and I’m waiting for the kitchen floor to dry.
The above image is from the Royalton Library up the road from here. I went there on Wednesday after recording the MetaFilter podcast. The librarian had a patron who had gotten a “free” computer (actually two) and needed help setting it up. I went over with Ubuntu CDs and a cheery frame of mind. That outlook soured somewhat when I learned more about the computers. They were given to this family by the VT Department of Children and Families. They were, I think, donated to them. Neither one worked right — one had no operating system (and a possibly broken CD drive) and one froze intermittently. DCF had given these computers to this family, this family already needing a bit of help, as a way of helping them out. All they wound up doing was giving them a project, a somewhat futile project. The mom and daughter were good natured about it, but I felt totally on the spot — if I fixed the computers, the family would have a computer. I took them home to mess with and I’ll probably just replace them with a working computer from my attic. What a pickle.
On to the links I’ve assembled.
- This one is sort of self-referential, but Steve Cisler died about a week and a half ago. I had met him when I gave a talk at SJSU and he came up and introduced himself to me. He was the first “internet librarian” I ever knew. There are a few wonderful memorial posts about him and I summarized some of them on MetaFilter.
- Superpatron Ed V is putting together a list of libraries that have catalogs with mobilesmall screen versions. Does yours? Contact him.
- I can never get enough of Brewster Kahle. In this podcast he talks about defending the Internet Archive from a National Security Letter. Good stuff.
- Noisy punky library fun.
That’s the short list for now, I have a few that are begging for more explication which I’ll be getting to shortly.
Librarians on the Internet Bookmobile
Many of us have a bookmobile fetish. I know I do. I was heavy in negotiations with the Internet Archive to get to drive their bookmobile around NH/VT with Casey this Summer but life intervened and it didn’t happen. How happy was I, then, to see my friends James and Shinjoung from FreeGovInfo as well as Sarah from the September Project [and a colleague of mine from MaintainIT] driving the adorable van around Northern California. Steve Cisler wrote about the Internet Bookmobile for First Monday several years ago and it’s an article worth reading.
Sarah’s bookmobile posts are here, James and Shinjoung’s posts are here. (hint for drupal blog maintainers, you’ll get better results in Google if you change the URLs for your texonomy to include the term not just a number). They’re still going, through September 15th, if you’re in Northern California, see if you can see them.
Open Library/Open Content Alliance announcement from Archive.org
Hi. This is the presentation that Andrea and I are watching right now in San Francisco. The Open Library. Brewster Kahle is talking now and doing a book scanning demonstration. I like how he says “librarians” a lot.
Vision of an Open Library
The Web is So post-1996, what about older content?
Everyone is part of it: Amazon helps “expand the bookstore” but we’re looking for inclusivity.
“A great library for the published works of humankind, accessible to all… everybody involved… libraries LIVE based on the publishing system, they will be involved.”
3 to 4 billion of the 12 billion libraries spend every year goes to publishing. Let’s have more of that go to fairly compensating everyone.
“For the near term, we’re making books from books.” It’s hard to digitze a book that looks like the original, this is the proof that can work.
1. Selection. librarians choose books. Start with out of copyright materials, work towards in print, orphans next. “we’re not going to run out”
2. Scanning. 500 dpi “scribe system” 30-60 min per book. “we can read a 2 pt typeface, straight on” metadata, saved to archive
3. Cataloging. Use library data and coordinate between scanning centers using MetaFetch. Groups like RLG are coordinating.
4. Copyright. Copyright law is “a little confusing” Evidence based interface allows a Q&A “is this book under copyright” interrogation. Many books not re-registered copyright-wise. Already scanned copyright renewal records into a searchable database. Larry Lessig is bringing a suit re: orphan works and whether they can be in the virtual library. Other for-profits are working back the other way. It’s “tricky but doable”
5. Storage. 6 GB per book, hard to scale. Built a petabyte-scale machine “petabox” [I saw it] low power, runs cool, “set top boxes” not full computers with OSes etc. Object is not to have one box in an earthquake zone, but distributed system in flood zones & elsewhere.
6. Readers. Software. Check it out at openlibrary.org. UC librarians chose early set of books already scanned. Also looking into PDFs for printing. Also working with lulu.com for print on demand. Also, you can listen to these books.
Other mentioned projects: ICDL, Internet Archive Bookmobile [buck a book!]. BookShare will use this content for access for the blind. $100 laptop will be integrating books from this project onto their laptops [big news!]. Open Content Alliance to create protocols and formats.
Brewster Kahle: “I don’t know what it will be like to have books from our libraries injected into our culture again, but I’d like to see it”
“Knowledge for the World” is the mantra that all the funders [on and off the podium, 30 seconds each: Smithsonian (museums/content), Yahoo, Sloan Foundation (funding), Johns Hopkins (content/tech), RLG (cataloging), Adobe (display/doc formatting), HP (scan), LizardTech (data compression), Lulu.com (printing), MSN Search (search/funding) etc]
Guy from Yahoo “Finally a library I won’t get thrown out of” and “Find, use, share, and expand all human knowledge”
Andrea has more, including some links that I missed.