Presentation at the VALA 2012 conference, Melbourne Victoria, Australia, 9 February 2012 by Kathryn Greenhill, Curtin University, WA and Constance Wiebrands, Edith Cowan University Library, WA. (more...)
Twentieth century libraries were funded to provide content to their communities legally, easily and free. In the twenty-first century, new online competitors supply home consumers - legally and illegally - with what libraries traditionally were best at providing to library users - free and easy content. This paper suggests that library staff arguing for the value of contemporary libraries should be aware of the quality, methods and material of “hidden competitors”. Some “hidden competitors” discussed include “blackmarket” journal article sharing, BitTorrenting sites, online textbook sharing sites, self-distributing artists, programs to strip Digital Rights Management from ebooks, Amazon’s ebook distribution and fan fiction. Possible future models for both “hidden competitors” and libraries - and implications of these - are suggested.
Full peer-reviewed paper available here: http://www.vala.org.au/vala2012-proceedings/vala2012-session-11-greenhill