Basic thrust of their talk was how DRM (digital rights/restrictions mgmt) applied to ebooks limits access and ultimately undermines the freedom to read.
They talked about a variety of ebook vendors and publishers (including but not limited to the ones listed here), and they talked about different platforms. I put Adobe Digital Editions up as an example, because, as I learned at the EBSCO luncheon at ACRL, that is the software EBSCO is using for their ebooks, and since they just bought netlibrary, many of us will probably be seeing a lot of it.
The problems sellie and goins highlighted with respect to DRM-protected ebooks are: You can’t print them. This is bad for people who don’t like to read on a computer screen, and for those who may not have continuous access to a power source. Caged vs. free range downloading--naturally people want to be able to download ebooks for use offline. With software like adobe digital editions, you can download your book so you can read it offline, but there are limits on what you can do with it. You certainly can’t copy it in its entirety; you may be able to cut and paste a limited amount of text, and you will probably only be able to keep it for a limited amount of time before it evaporates. You may not be able to download the item at all until someone else’s time is up, and once you have it, there’s no way for you to effectively “return” the item early so someone else could have it. In many cases libraries are essentially renting vs. buying their ebooks, so if that vendor goes belly up, for example, all those titles can disappear just like that. Finally, ebooks that require internet access can present a real barrier. Alycia pointed that many Brooklyn College students do their homework on the subway, where there is no internet access at all. And again, to use an ereader, whether or not you need internet access, you are always, at some point, going to need access to a power source.
So this is the big question: why retain only the disadvantages of the print model: one book one reader, can’t copy and paste, copies wear out, and so on.
So there you have it. Then, the next day, I went to Jaron Lanier’s keynote. Jaron Lanier is the author of You Are Not a Gadget, in which, among other things, he talks about how the very idea of personhood is changing because of things like social networking technologies. He’s also an artist and composer, as well as a computer scientist, and in his words, very much a silicon valley “insider.”
The title of his talk was …. He approached the ebook controversy from a very different perspective. He said that from the perspective of silicon valley, watching what’s going on between libraries and publishers is like godzilla watching ants and caterpillars fight, meaning that in the grand scheme of things, there’s very little money at stake here, so from that perspective, the whole thing is just pretty insignificant. During q & a, an audience member pointed out that it can’t be that insignificant, because the publishers do appear willing to work with libraries on some level. A bigger point he made was to suggest that libraries, or everyone, really, be thoughtful about calling for total openness. He used the demise of the music business as an example, and pointed out that because music is so easy to get now, because you can just turn on Pandora and let the algorithm decide what you’re going to listen to, rather than you going into a music store, browsing, looking at album covers, and maybe taking a chance and spending money on something you’ve never heard before, the specialness we used to associate with music is basically gone. So he said we’re at risk of doing that to books, too, and effectively killing the publishing industry, and he said that it’s up to librarians, at least in part, to keep the love alive by romanticizing the book the way we’ve always done. Also, he said, we should do a better job of romanticizing and perhaps promoting ourselves, because the kind of knowledge unique individuals have, coupled with our critical thinking abilities, allows us to discover things that Google might not, because, as he said, google works on things everyone already knows about, so to make connections and uncover knowledge that isn’t already basically ubiquitous, requires an actual human brain, so it’s up to us to make sure that that remains important.
Technology & Libraries ACRL 2011 Lightning Round-up Jacqui Grallo Reference and Instructional Technology Librarian, California State University Monterey Bay
You can use the new “embed” feature in SurveyMonkey to place an online preassessment directly on your course guide. Students take the preassessment at the beginning of the session. The librarian displays the results and discusses the session learning outcomes.