Sunday, May 24, 2009

Daily Thoughts 5/24/2009

Richard Wright photographed by Carl von Vechten. Richard Wright wrote a book of Haiku called Haiku This Other World. As the restrictions on this collection expired in 1986, the Library of Congress believes this image is in the public domain However, the Carl Van Vechten estate has asked that use of Van Vechten's photographs "preserve the integrity" of his work, i.e, that photographs not be colorized or cropped, and that proper credit is given to the photographer.

Daily Thoughts 5/24/2009

I have been reading more of Fool's Gold by Mark Y. Herring. It is an entertaining book. I rather like some of his arguments. You pick up some of the common arguments against using the internet as a pure research tool. He reminds us that Google has a separate search engine for more scholarly articles . Most pages with databases or deep repositories of knowledge are hidden from standard search engines. They reside in a place called the deep or invisible web. Complete Planet has a search engine specifically designed to find pages with databases built into them Incy Wincy is another search engine which can reach into the invisible web .

As I read this book I am learning many arguments that will be useful in why we should keep a library and not just have everything put on the internet. There are many secondary uses that are not just about resisting change. Libraries are in an environment of budget cuts and have to be able to justify their existence.

Right now, I am reading the section on Google and digitization. Mark Y. Herring correctly states that the main benefit of digitization is increased access. The moment an item is put on a website in digital format it instantly becomes available to anyone who has a web connection. This will become a tremendous boon for all the classics of literature and all the works in the public domain. Suddenly they will become available all over the world. This is the real advantage of scanning, much more so than preservation. Because the information is public domain it also is public property to manipulate and build on. I look forward to seeing the creative use of this material.

I took a short break from reading serious material and tried out one of the previews on the Baen previews, In The Stormy Red Sky by David Drake. It is military space opera, part of the RCN (Royal Cinnabar Navy) series featuring Captain Leary and Adele Mundy. The story reminds me a little bit of the Master and Commander series of naval fiction written by Patrick O' Brian. There are seven free chapters.

Web Bits

If you go to Stanza the most popular free ereader produced by Lexcycle with over a million downloads for the Iphone, one of the main highlights is places to get ebooks. Many of these books are public domain or free.

This is also interesting. It is in its early stages. You should be able to get many public domain books available as print on demand.

There is a corollary idea that goes with giving away free books on ereaders. This cannot be proven yet. If you give away an ebook by an author, you are likely to increase demand for their books that are in print. I might even say that if you give away a free ebook, the reader is going to look for more print books for free. Libraries are places with a lot of free material. I think the increase in the availability of free material in the public domain through the internet will increase library use.

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