Electronic Publications

'LJ,' 'SLJ' Virtual eBook Summit Draws 2,500 Attendees

Calvin Reid from Publishers Weekly reports that the one-day online event was extremely successful. The Summit featured a keynote by technologist Ray Kurzweil and more than 15 hours of presentations, "E-Books: Libraries at the Tipping Point" focused on every aspect of the developing e-book market and its impact on public, school, and academic libraries. Held September 29 and organized by Library Journal and School Library Journal, the virtual "summit" on e-books certainly delivered on its promises.

The web meeting brought together more than 40 respected experts (including this reporter and PW features editor Andrew Albanese) from across the spectrum of library professionals, academia, and tech journalism as well as the LJ/SLJ staff. An audience of more than 2,500 digital attendees (representing more than 800 public libraries, over 400 academic libraries, and more than 400 school libraries) attended the one-day virtual conference. Ian Singer, v-p, content & business development for Media Source, parent company of LJ and SLJ (no longer affiliated with PW), said the conference was meant to address the fact that "public and school libraries are struggling to understand the e-book industry. We wanted to bring libraries and publishers together and offer a huge knowledge dump about what e-books are and what the challenges are for libraries."

Did you attend? What did you think of the event?

A Library Without Walls

Robert Darnton at the New York Review of Books Blog asks:

"Can we create a National Digital Library? That is, a comprehensive library of digitized books that will be easily accessible to the general public. Simple as it sounds, the question is extraordinarily complex. It involves issues that concern the nature of the library to be built, the technological difficulties of designing it, the legal obstacles to getting it off the ground, the financial costs of constructing and maintaining it, and the political problems of mobilizing support for it.

Despite the complexities, the fundamental idea of a National Digital Library (or NDL) is, at its core, straightforward. The NDL would make the cultural patrimony of this country freely available to all of its citizens. It would be the digital equivalent of the Library of Congress, but instead of being confined to Capitol Hill, it would exist everywhere, bringing millions of books and other digitized material within clicking distance of public libraries, high schools, junior colleges, universities, retirement communities, and any person with access to the Internet."

Read the full entry.

In Study, Children Cite Appeal of Digital Reading

Many children want to read books on digital devices and would read for fun more frequently if they could obtain e-books. But even if they had that access, two-thirds of them would not want to give up their traditional print books, this according to an article today in the New York Times.

These are a few of the findings in a study being released on Wednesday by Scholastic (as in Bookfairs), the American publisher of the Harry Potter books and the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

The report set out to explore the attitudes and behaviors of parents and children toward reading books for fun in a digital age. Scholastic surveyed more than 2,000 children ages 6 to 17, and their parents, in the spring.

Parents and educators have long worried that digital diversions like video games and cellphones cut into time that children spend reading. However, they see the potential for using technology to their advantage, introducing books to digitally savvy children through e-readers, computers and mobile devices.

About 25 percent of the children surveyed said they had already read a book on a digital device, including computers and e-readers. Fifty-seven percent between ages 9 and 17 said they were interested in doing so.

Will e-readers make us lazy readers?

Jonah Lehrer has an interesting take on e-readers and the possible neurological influence of developing technologies on how we read:

Textbooks on Your iPad

From Publishers Weekly: CourseSmart, a consortium of major textbook publishers that offers cheaper digital versions of their textbooks, has launched eTextbooks for iPad 2.0, an upgraded version of its iPhone and iPod Touch app that is optimized to run on the iPad. The CourseSmart iPad app is free to download and offers access to more than 7,000 digital textbooks from 5 major publishers at discounts of up to 60% of the print editions.

The digital textbook provider has launched a web site with more info on the new CourseSmart iPad app as well as a contest to give away an iPad-a-Day beginning today. CourseSmart claims to offer students the ability to access more than 90% of higher education textbooks in digital format on any device, mobile or PC. The new CourseSmart site also integrates social media into its functionality including Facebook Connect.

Photo Montage: Digital Bookmobile

Cleveland-based digital media vendor Overdrive is taking a "digital bookmobile" on a tour to show off the services Overdrive provides patrons via libraries. The LISTen production team visited the tractor-trailer rig to get some pictures of the traveling show.

Tuesday Discussion Items

Put that on your wedding registry! First, in shopping for a new apartment, my wife and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. As I arrived before she did, I was wandering around the store when I saw an e-reader (pictured right) sitting on the shelf near the door. Yes, an e-reader in BB&B. A color one with a touch screen for under $200, at that. Barnes & Noble is the content provider, but from the options, it seems a lot like a Kindle. I couldn’t actually hold one since the display was quite fixed and non-interactive, but it really made me do a double take. Is it any good? I have no clue. But it’s being sold on the shelf of a store that does not come to mind when you think books. This really reinforces the my notion that, within five years, a company like Amazon will throw in a Kindle for free when you order five or more books.

Stanford University's 'Bookless' Library

From the New Yorker's Book Bench: Amid all the fuss over Stanford University’s announcement that they are unveiling a bookless library (is it the wave of the future? A sign of the literary apocalypse?), everyone seemed to be missing one rather obvious point: when it opens in August it will, in spite of the misleading nomenclature, contain books.

True, the new physics and engineering library will house eighty-five percent fewer books, but it isn’t some sort of thought experiment (if a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear, will it still make a noise? If a library contains no books, is it still a library?) or Borgesian symbol. In fact, it isn’t even a sign of the end of books; it’s a result of schools being so overcrowded with them. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford buys the equivalent of two hundred and seventy-three books a day. As you can imagine, that adds up to an awful lot of shelf space and, as a result, Stanford has been forced to move many of their titles to storage facilities miles away

Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2010/07/the-dawn-of-the-bookless-library.html#ix... ...and listen to the NPR story on the 'bookless library'. The library opens August 2.

Podcasts Without A Fruit-Based Player

Sometimes posts are not easily made to Drupal. Drupal likes text and can be tricky to use if you want to incorporate images into posts. When you have a situation of multiple screenshots to display with text, Adobe Acrobat format can be a better container for such information.

In recognition of that the software & service review article attached to this post is available in Adobe Acrobat format only. Click the download link to access the piece. Podcast subscribers will automatically receive the PDF in their playlist as if it were yet more liner notes.

Harvard Library Works to Maintain Stature in the Shift to Digital

The shift is taking place...from acquisition, to access reports the Globe.

Facing an unprecedented budget crunch, the Harvard University cancelled print copies of more than 1,000 journal titles last year in favor of online subscriptions. And they're is turning toward other universities to collaborate and share acquisitions, all while trying to maintain its libraries’ stature in an increasingly digital world.

“We need to worry less about buying everything, and instead ensure that we have access to these materials,’’ said David Lamberth, a divinity school professor who is overseeing a group tasked with reinventing Harvard’s libraries. “The real issue is giving present and future scholars the ability to find what they need to find.’’

Students can now sit in their dorms and order books directly from their computers to be delivered within 24 hours to the library of their choice from the Harvard Depository, a high-density storage facility where a forklift is required to fetch books from 30-foot shelves. In some cases, students can avoid the library altogether; materials can be downloaded or the library will scan relevant book chapters and e-mail them.


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