If you have a compelling story to share about innovation in libraries—from new takes on curation and content creation, to great examples of collaboration and programs that enhance learning—we’d like to hear from you. But hurry, proposals are due by May 2.
Ebook distribution to libraries took another leap forward on October 17 when Baker & Taylor, OverDrive, 3M, and RBDigital (Recorded Books) told their customers that Macmillan’s entire ebook backlist, 11,000 titles from lead imprints St. Martin’s, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt, Macmillan Children’s, and Tor, would now be available to their patrons.
Regularly ranked as the busiest or the second busiest library in the United States, the King County Library System (KCLS) in Washington annually processes 22 million checkouts and records more than 84 million visits to its catalog. It’s enough to strain any integrated library system (ILS), and a few years ago, IT services director Jed Moffitt decided that, owing to this volume and the need to add proprietary features to its system, there simply wasn’t a commercial ILS on the market that could meet the library’s unique requirements. He famously coauthored an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant of $1 million that enabled KCLS to experiment with, and then migrate to, the open source Evergreen ILS while developing a peer-to-peer support model to help other libraries and consortia that were interested in doing the same. Moffitt admits that there have been growing pains during the past three years. But he still maintains that commercial ILS vendors simply aren’t organized to do the type of development work that KCLS needs.
For all its use to researchers, the Internet can be an awfully ephemeral thing. Websites changes hands, services that were once free land behind paywalls, and servers go offline. Whatever the reason, the result is the same—all too often, a once-valid link no longer directs users to the information they need. For many of us, the familiar 404 message, indicating that a page can’t be found, is a common but inconsequential hassle of Internet use. For scholars and legal professionals, though, being unable to find a piece of information cited in a court case can be a costly and time-consuming hurdle. Now Perma.cc, a new service spearheaded by the Harvard Law School Library, is aiming to put a stop to disappearing links to citations in legal documents and court decisions by creating individual caches of content at the moment that authors and journal editors cite it.
“Penguin will resume doing business with OverDrive as of this morning,” Penguin spokesperson Erica Glass told LJ on September 25. According to a blog post by Karen Estrovich, collection development manager for OverDrive, 17,000 Penguin ebooks are already “live and available for purchase in OverDrive Marketplace.” Although Estrovich refers to the transaction as a purchase, the books are being offered for a one year term on a one copy/one user lending model.
Three years ago, I wrote in LJ that “libraries are so valuable that they attract voracious new competition with every technological advance.” At the time, I was thinking about Google, Apple, Amazon, and Wikipedia as the gluttonous innovators aiming to be hired for the jobs that libraries had been doing. I imagined Facebook and Twitter to be the sort of competitors most likely to be attracted by the flame of library value. But it’s the new guys that surprise you. To review the last three years of change in the library world, I’d like to focus on some of the start-ups that have newly occupied digital niches in the reading ecosystem. It’s these competitors that libraries will need to understand and integrate with to remain relevant.
University of Washington iSchool’s Joseph Janes calls for libraries to strike a balance between protecting privacy and innovating to add value—with patrons’ permission. This essay is part of an exclusive LJ series, Reinventing Libraries, that looks at how the digital shift is impacting libraries’ mission.
OverDrive and Sourcebooks are preparing to launch an innovative and ambitious pilot program whose goal is to clearly demonstrate the impact libraries have on book sales and author recognition.
OverDrive sent a letter today to about 35,000 librarians worldwide and invited them to opt in to a program that will run from May 15 through June 1 and allow all participating libraries to feature simultaneously on their OverDrive home page, at no cost, a single title from Sourcebooks.
During a visit to Egypt two years ago, George Kerscher, Secretary General of the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium, found that the country’s major libraries had only a very small collection of books available for print-disabled patrons. And while staff and volunteers were working to make more books accessible, output was limited to only a handful of titles each year.
Discerning this as an outsider, Kerscher (who is blind himself) realized that it was very much a microcosm of how the process of producing accessible books has traditionally functioned in the United States.