With the recent news about the Authors Guild v. HathiTrust suit a lot of information has been popping up about Hathi's strategies for identifying and contacting the copyright holders of their orphan works. This blog post from the Authors Guild presents a seeming fail by Hathi's researchers to discover a literary agent through Google. The Guild's seemed a little circuitous, but they apparently identified and alerted the author about his pending orphan status. According to HathiTrust's identification workflow even an author who did not respond to phone or email contact would be considered a potential orphan rather than a candidate, but I'm honestly a little shocked that the 163 current candidates haven't been perfectly checked and rechecked by Hathi's librarians.
This article presents a description of the techniques and infrastructure of the HathiTrust, a digital repository for library collections. The platform of the HathiTrust is a library shared and controlled repository which rose up to house the bountiful digi-crop of the Google Books Project in the wake of their legal troubles. While Google books has floundered into a shadow of its former self, HathiTrust has flourished and began to problematically tackle the problem of orphan works.
Bookhunch is meant to be a social, crowdsourced review site for new and unpublished literature. Readers are able to leave their mark on the in-site book display to interact with other users and earn points for additional access privileges. There are very few books available on the site right now, but if they gain access to the exclusive pre-pub content they’re after, a big user community should follow.
The concept seems very cool and it’s currently invitation-only (mine a few days after I requested it) so they’ve built a very engaged user-base that seems to reflect the ultimate purpose of the site. Users leave insightful comments against an in-site view of the book content. Most of their books are public domain, but as the site develops it should be easier for users to find interesting content.
The 9,558,529 total volumes digitized in the HathiTrust will soon be full text searchable in EBSCO and OCLC. As you may know, the HathiTrust provides a home for materials digitized as part of the Google Books Project and Internet Archive initiatives and has partnered with several academic libraries (including Columbia) to host digitization efforts for both public domain and under copyright materials. These materials will retain their copyright and privacy status, but their content will be search-accessible.
This development will be the googliest thing to happen to OCLC since the single search bar. With full text searching, OCLC will begin to function much like Google Books, though this library-headed effort excludes the problematic snippet views. I think that Google has pretty effectively shown us that full text searching, while easy and awesome, doesn’t fully replace full bibliographic records or information literacy instruction.
Gluejar is a movement to “liberate” copyrighted e-books. Users will be able to rally around books in a Kickstarter-esque fashion to crowdraise the re-licensing of beloved e-literature under Creative Commons. Gluejar isn’t currently live, but they’ve been plotting and blogging at gluejar.com and have recently established a home base for “ungluing” books at unglue.it
Gluejar’s mission is to pay e-book producers a fair price for their work and ideas and release those ideas into the world to freely share, copy, and remix. This is certainly a lofty goal and Gluejar is aiming broadly. I can see a site like this contributing to a future in which nothing goes to the digital equivalent of “out of print.”
There’s been a buzz lately around DIY information space creation. The successfully funded Uni project, which Julia blogged about last month, is an example of an outdoor space serving up a selection of services formerly found in traditional library buildings. Another example of this is the Library Lab project created by Noll & Tam Architects. The Lab project uses geometric modules based on Penrose tiling to create flexible service spaces targeted at major library functions but suitable for non-library locations. These functions center around print-to-digital and digi-to-print services, storage, and access to selected subscriptions and software. Best of all, the modules are highly customizable and the plans are open source.
The friction and interest generated around “bookless” libraries and embedded librarianship in the past few months has made clear that we are becoming untethered from our library spaces in a way we have long predicted.
Technical Services (Materials at TC) is responsible for much of the backstage work in libraries. Cataloging, resource maintenance, acquisitions, and delivery are essential and traditional library functions that suffer from a publicity problem, even amongst other modes of librarianship. Shrinking budgets and the proliferation of collaborative and commercial alternatives to on-site cataloging and collection development have eliminated many a technical services department. This article aims to present strategies of outreach and production for maintaining relevance in technical services.
E-periodical aggregator Zite has released a series of interesting blog posts detailing article reading by state. The lists were generated using the topics that readers in specific states are more likely to peruse than the average American. New Yorkers read more about the Yankees, Judaism, and advertising while my lovely homeland of Minnesota scored highly in Innovation, Leadership, Baseball, and Beer. The data is pretty hilarious and the blog also details Zite’s brushes with copyright law.
Project Noah (stands for networked organisms and habitats) was dreamed up by NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program to crowdsource species identification and act as a local guidebook to our plant and animal neighbors.
The site seems to have real educational potential; it works well and the user base seems devoted to documenting and identification. Users can help out on “missions” like that of the Great Pollinator Project, which aims to identify and improve the habitat of pollinators in NYC or the Mitten Crab Watch’s attempts to document the spread of this invasive species in the Hudson. It’s easy to look at local flora and fauna or go exploring for exotic species and it would be easy to incorporate this in an ecological curriculum once it’s more robustly filled with plants, bugs, fungi, and animals. Project Noah is actively seeking teachers and librarians to help them with this goal.
Booktrack, a company offering sound and music enhanced e-books, was recently covered in the NYT for nothing so much as its cool factor. Sugardaddied by Paypal’s Peter Theil and facilitated by Brooke Geahan of the delightfully ridiculous Accompanied Literary Society, Booktrack may have the oomph and networking savvy to take what frankly seems like an awful idea and make it kind of relevant. Their current headliner is YA novel The Power of Six, sequel to I am Number Four but they seem to be focusing on public domain novels in future ventures.