Monday, 8 November 2010

Supplement to: Borrowing ebooks beyond a library's walls

Yesterday The Guardian’s Comment is Free published an article by me about ebooks, libraries, and the digital economy. Everything I wanted to say about the Publishers Association decision is in the article so this post is sort of like the deleted scenes: the ideas I rejected while writing the article; some are terrible, some are (hopefully) mildly interesting.
  • When The Guardian agreed to read a draft, I panic-read Lawrence Lessig’s Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy in three days because I was afraid my meagre understanding of digital copyright would be an embarrassment. As it happens, the article contains very little about copyright, intellectual property, or the law. This doesn’t mean that reading the book was a waste of time (but it’s not as good as Free Culture).
  • Neil Gaiman’s recent All Hallows Read was going to be used as an example of communities sharing books. It didn’t really fit as it wasn’t related to ebooks or libraries but it’s still a cool idea and worth a read.
  • This Atlantic article about National Digital Libraries by David Rothman of TeleRead would have been perfect to link to but I read it an hour after I emailed the completed draft. 
  • At one point, I seriously considered quoting The Kinks’ ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’. A friend once told me that the song reminded her of being a librarian. The specific quote would have been “Preserving the old ways from being abused. Protecting the new ways for me and for you” and would have served as a poetic reminder of what libraries do. It would also have been a bad idea. 
  • The final paragraph – the paragraph that no-one in the comments has mentioned – is my favourite. It’s the paragraph where I shoehorn in my dissertation ideas about large-scale digital libraries and graphic visualisation of subject links using data and metadata.
I’d like to use this space to thank my library tweeps for reading the article, retweeting it, commenting on it, and being so kind about it. It means a lot to have people read what you’ve written, enjoy it, and get passionate enough to agree/disagree with it. Thank you.


TheMuddledMarketPlace said...

Fascinating article...
I don't always read all the comments ,they all so often descend into rubbish. However this one doesn't. Well done.

SimonXIX said...

I was pleasantly surprised at how civil the discourse remained.

Usually any CiF article with even the vaguest pro-library leanings descends into a shouting match.