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The Library of Congress has announced a transition to online-only publication of its cataloging documentation. As titles that are in production are released, the Library’s Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS) will no longer print new editions of its subject headings, classification schedules and other cataloging publications. The Library will instead provide free downloadable PDF versions of these titles.
For users desiring enhanced functionality, the Library’s two web-based subscription services, Cataloger’s Desktop and Classification Web, will continue as products from CDS.
In 2012, the Library of Congress conducted an extensive study on the impact and opportunities of changes in the bibliographic framework and the technological environment on the future distribution of its cataloging data and products. The Library’s transition from print to online-only for cataloging documentation is a response to a steadily declining customer base for print and the availability of alternatives made possible by advances in technology. This shift will enable the Library to achieve a more sustainable financial model and better serve its mission in the years ahead.
Beginning July 1, print publications that are currently sold through CDS will become available as free, downloadable PDF titles through the Library’s Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate website at www.loc.gov/aba/. Because all of the content cannot be made available simultaneously, the retrospective titles will be phased in over time as PDF files. -- Read More
In 2010, a reassuring study in fact found no difference in recall after reading material electronically versus paper. Now Sara Margolin and her colleagues have looked at reading comprehension and again found no deficits in understanding of material consumed on a Kindle or a computer versus paper.
Some of the problem stems from tradition. The people drawn to publishing as a professional are, by and large, book lovers, and as such, often as attached to books’ physicality as to their text. More is paranoia: unlike music, whose digital age developed largely in response to an already thriving pirate industry, book publishing has held back, waiting for reliable DRM that seems unlikely to materialize.
On some levels, their reluctance is pragmatic. The technology of digital publishing is awkward and inconsistent. The closest thing to a single file standard, e-pub, is still far from platform-agnostic and notorious for destroying formatting elements, which limits what writers and designers can do structurally if they’re planning for digital.
A recent survey found that half of all readers had no interest in buying e-books and that the vast majority of people who buy e-books continue to buy print books as well.
Among them are author Marilyn Johnson, who's written books about libraries (This Book Is Overdue) and the art of obituary writing (The Dead Beat). She says that "if you took my (physical) books away, I'd go crazy, but now that I've gotten hooked to readers (first a Kindle and now an iPad), I can't imagine doing without that (digital) library."
She finds her e-reader is essential when she's traveling. She even buys or borrows an e-book copy of a book she already owns "just to lighten my load and continue reading as I move through the landscape."
Johnson straddles any divide between print and digital.
Her ideal reading experience crosses all formats: "Hear the author read on an audiobook, read it myself on the page or e-reader, and own it in a beautiful dust jacket, alphabetized on a shelf, with my notes in the margins and an old review stuck in the pages, ready to be pulled down whenever I want."
Op-ed in the NYT: E-Books and Democracy by Anthony W. Marx (president of the New York Public Library)
WRESTLING with my newspaper on the subway recently, I noticed the woman next to me reading a book on her smartphone. “That has to hurt your eyes,” I commented. Not missing a beat, she replied, in true New York style, “My font is bigger than yours.” She was right.
Technology companies will occasionally acknowledge they were wrong — just last week Apple had to apologize to its Chinese customers — but you hardly ever hear them express doubt about the glorious future they are building for us all.
So it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski, a leader of the team that built Amazon’s first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” And this: “If you’re willing to overlook the fact that Big Brother won’t be a politician but an ad man and that he’ll have the face of Google.” Mr. Merkoski even has mixed feelings about Amazon, which he left two years ago. “It’s hard to love Amazon,” he notes. “Not the way we love Apple or a bookstore.”
Mr. Merkoski just wrote a book - Burning the Page: The eBook revolution and the future of reading (Looks like the book is only coming out in ebook form)
Several Texas A&M professors know something that generations of teachers could only hope to guess: whether students are reading their textbooks.
They know when students are skipping pages, failing to highlight significant passages, not bothering to take notes — or simply not opening the book at all.
“It’s Big Brother, sort of, but with a good intent,” said Tracy Hurley, the dean of the school of business. (If the intent is good anything goes)
Digital books are triggering tectonic shifts in education. One of the most fundamental, yet seemingly invisible, shifts is happening in the back rooms of district offices—not in the classrooms, not among teachers and students, and definitely not in the board rooms of most big-name publishers and textbook companies.
This profound, significant change is happening first in school district business offices, IT departments, and cubicles among staff members who work behind the scenes to acquire materials for today’s students.
What exactly is this shift? It’s a shift in awareness. A very subtle, yet primary, change in perception.
It’s the revelation of the idea that ebooks are not books at all.
That’s right, ebooks are not books.
Worries about the effect of libraries on the book trade are not new. But digital devices, which allow books to reach readers with ease and speed, intensify them. As Brian Napack, president of Macmillan, a big publisher, put it in 2011, the fear is that someone who gets a library card will “never have to buy a book again”.