Magazine article Information Today

CIL: Focus and Value for Library Communities

Magazine article Information Today

CIL: Focus and Value for Library Communities

Article excerpt

Bright and early on Day 1, attendees swarmed into the International Ballroom Center at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C., with coffee cups in hand to listen to the keynote by James Crawford, engineering director for Google Books. But a flight delay from the West Coast left Crawford MIA and his insights into "Google Books: Strategic Focus & Value to Library Communities" from being heard until his keynote was rescheduled for the afternoon. In the meantime, an ad hoc panel comprised of Dick Kaser from Information Today, Inc.; Stephen Abram from Gale Cengage Learning; Marshall Breeding from Vanderbilt University; and Roy Tennant from OCLC stepped up to the table to discuss the ebook and mass digitization market.

Breeding said the idea of digitizing the world's books was inconceivable before. "Now we see it through the efforts of multiple players," he says, noting that you can't depend on Google for everything. He sees a need for redundancy. Google has the clout and the resources to do massive digitization, but it isn't just about reading online; discovery is included. Few library systems have the capability to search inside a book.

But Abram looked at the consequences. "We have thought of databases as information, but we are still regarding Google Books as just books," he says, asking what the answer space will look like and what the difference will be between a scholarly article and a chapter.


"Google sits on top of the books and search engines; what's left for the library catalog to do?" asks Kaser. People are going out of their local communities and digitizing personal collections for the libraries, he says. Commercial enterprises will pay to do this, but the library community must be sure that we end up with something people can use going forward.

Kaser points to the main controversy about lending models, saying that the whole idea of lending ebooks is disruptive to publishers, which will try to impose loan limits. For Abram, the HarperCollins issue is just one example of what may be ahead for books. He questions the power and control behind the ebook formats. "We don't let phone companies tell us what kind of calls we can make because of the device we're using," he says. "Do we want that to happen in libraries?"

Ebooks continued to draw crowds throughout the conference. It was an ebook bonanza--a whole track dedicated to the practices, models, and challenges of ebooks in libraries. In one panel session, Ken Breen of EBSCO Publishing discussed the ongoing integration of NetLibrary following its acquisition last year from OCLC. In July, the NetLibrary brand will be retired. Leslie Lees of ebrary--now owned by ProQuest--says the company primarily serves the academic market but also has products for corporate, government, and public libraries. It offers unlimited subscription access, perpetual access (purchase and own), and patron-driven acquisition (PDA).

Short-term loans (STL) will be offered starting this spring. ebrary is focusing on adding STM content to its 275,000 titles from some 500 publishers. Its DASH! functionality to upload content and make it searchable is now available free to Academic Complete customers and later this year it will be available for individuals. Bob Nardini of Coutts Information Services, the academic division of Ingram, says its publisher partners put digital files into CoreSource, a digital warehouse that can provide output for retail ebook downloads, print on demand, and MyiLibrary (with single and multi-user models, perpetual ownership, and PDA). …

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