In this article, the fourth installment in a series on the initiative to build a Digital Public Library of America, I examine the underlying role of law in the ebook lending debate, explore potential solutions to the problems, and consider how the DPLA can contribute to solutions for those we serve. At the core of this issue is the way the copyright law works–or doesn’t–when it comes to books, libraries, and readers in the United States today and into the future.
Digital information industry veteran Jeff Moyer last month launched Reveal Digital, a company that aims to use a lean, efficient funding model to digitize special collections and then make those collections open access. Reveal will treat digitization “as a service to libraries rather than a more traditional publishing or product approach,” he said.
Multidisciplinary Open Access journal publisher PeerJ announced the publication of its first 30 peer-reviewed articles today. Co-founders Jason Hoyt, formerly chief scientist and VP for research and development for Mendeley, and Peter Binfield, formerly publisher of the Public Library Of Science (PLOS), launched PeerJ in June 2012. They quickly garnered support for the project, ultimately assembling an Editorial Board of 800 academics and an advisory board of 20—five of whom are Nobel Laureates. PeerJ is now hoping that its business model can help make academic publishing more efficient and less expensive both for both researchers and libraries.
Comics in Libraries: iVerse, Brodart Set Date for Comics Plus: Library Edition; OverDrive in Talks with Manga Publishers
This weekend, iVerse Media announced that its Comics Plus: Library Edition will be available to school and public library patrons via tablet computers, desktops, and mobile devices beginning on April 1. In recent months, more than 250 libraries have been beta testing the service, which offers about 10,000 comics and graphic novel titles, including “Adventure Time,” “Doonesbury,” “Bone,” “Mouse Guard,” “Sesame Street,” and “Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.”
ProQuest on January 18 signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ebook Library (EBL), the companies announced today. They plan to merge EBLs platform with ebrary, which ProQuest acquired in January 2011. In a statement to the press, ProQuest CEO Kurt Sanford said that the company viewed EBL’s business models and acquisition tools as complementary to ebrary’s core platform technology, subscription service, and content selection.
Ebook Library (EBL), the library ebook platform launched in 2004 by Australian company Ebooks Corporation, has had worldwide success. More than 600 institutions, encompassing thousands of libraries, around the world now use EBL.
The majority, 81 percent, are academic libraries, with another 15 percent of the client base made up of special, government, and corporate libraries; the remaining four percent are split between public and school libraries. Higher education institutions large and small, including three LJ will look at more closely—the University of Texas (UT) at Austin; Wellesley College, MA, one of the famed “Seven Sisters” schools; and Fairfield University, CT—are among EBL’s many clients.
Like VHS recorders before them, DVD and Blu-ray players will eventually vanish from U.S. households, as people transition toward options such as cloud storage for content that they own and streaming services for content they want to rent. And, like every media format transition before, this shift is posing challenges for libraries as they attempt to serve their existing patrons, plan for the future, and maintain circulation figures on limited collections budgets.