Home On the Web Press News December Librarian's Technology Update
December Librarian's Technology Update PDF Print E-mail

Welcome to this month's roundup of technology news from the web. In this edition the Google book scanning lawsuit and WorldCat policy, and a round up of news on the subjects of e-books, library 2.0, search, digital collections, library administration and international stories.

Google Book Scanning Lawsuit

On October 28, 2008 Google reached settlement concerning book scanning of copyrighted works. For libraries this means that an individual library will be able to install one computer that has access to the full text of out-of-copyright and out-of-print works while previews are available for the remaining. There is also though the possibility that a library could subscribe and have full access to in-copyright books. For an overview of the settlement I recommend this article, while the detail can be found in this article. Library Journal however criticizes the single library terminal, the LA Times asks if this is a model for libraries, while Harvard rejects the deal as not open enough. Roy Tennant (Library Journal) rejects the deal on the grounds of library ethics. The Bookseller in the UK reports that Google is pushing the deal outside of the US (despite a very frosty welcome in the UK). Further articles: Library journal, BBC, LISNews, The Bookseller, Stephen's Lighthouse, LISNews and Stephen's Lighthouse, Times Online, Library 2.0 Gang (podcast).


WorldCat is a union of 34 national catalogues, OCLC who run WorldCat have recently updated policy controlling access to the data. The blogosphere is however up in arms as the new policy "would essentially rule out the creation of free and open databases of library content, such as the Open Library and LibraryThing". See also this article from Resource Shelf, and a podcast from the Library 2.0 Gang.


E-books I think it is fair to say are still an immature technology, however the technology is steadily progressing with the development of colour screens and larger screens designed for textbooks. This month has seen the announcement of a flexible plastic screen. At the Frankfurt Book Fair Library Journal reports that many say "Digital Will Take Over Print Books by 2018" (LISNews also reports from the fair). The Kindle continues to appear in the press with the news that the UK Kindle launch will miss the Christmas market. Kindle reviews also continue (good, in depth) however this review from Library Journal I think helps to keep the hype around the Kindle in context. And why not read a book on your iPhone, if anyone has actually done this I'd be interested to hear of the result!

Complete solutions for libraries who wish to provide e-books to patrons has seen the addition of another player, Palgrave, this month. It has been noted in the UK that a scheme that makes payments to authors and publishers for each library loan does not cover e-books.

The Internet vs. books: "The instant knowledge provided by the Web is invaluable, as is the deeper communion provided by books." says Beau Friedlander. (I think that communion is perhaps even deeper with a paper book.)

Library 2.0

Several articles on social networking this month: "the social effects of the Internet", "Why Social Networking and Web 2.0 is Important for your Library", and "Selling Social Networking", and two articles on current statistics and usage from iLibrarian and Stephen's Lighthouse. 'Library Facebook page - what to put on it?' from Phil Bradley.

'Introducing Reviews for LibraryThing for Libraries!' from LISNews. An audio interview with John Blyberg creator of SOPAC the Social OPAC.

Steven Bell argues for the abolition of the reference desk by the year 2012.

iLibrarian reports on libraries and mobile technologies here and here.

Making video tutorials is the subject of this 7 step guide.

'How to Drive Traffic to Your Website'.

Amazon provides inspiration for libraries' own websites.

Technology Review questions truth and Wikipedia (free registration required).

Stephen Abram makes available slide from his presentation 'Voices of Innovation: Trendspotting / Weak Signals from the Future'.

For UK readers Karen Blakeman makes available slides from her recent presentation 'Web 2.0 in the Public Sector'.

On a humerous note check this list of names for librarians who aren't on the Internet.

Search News

"The Internet is a volume in our library", and a search engine is the Index! Phil Bradley reports on how to limit a search by date. Karen Blakeman was at Internet Librarian International 2008 and shares her Search Tips presentation. Two new developments this month, the announcement of a new search engine that is to be based on librarian recommendations, and an iPhone application that responds to spoken search terms.

Digital Collections

A new release of Greenstone ("Greenstone is a suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM"). The BBC asks 'Are text messages worth keeping?' Andrew Bullen, Information Technology Coordinator for the Illinois State Library writes on "long tale descriptions" and 'Using Web 2.0 to Enhance Digital Collections'. The November/December 2008 issue of D-Lib Magazine is now available.

Library Administration

New technology collection development resource launches.


Finally one wonders what is going on in Malaysia as the future of the nation's 1,384 libraries is called into question.

Closing Thought

"Storytelling is at the very root of what makes us uniquely human ... It is how we share our experiences, learn from our past, and imagine our future" Saving the Story at MIT.

The author is editor and admin. of Library Web, a LISNews style website for the UK. This article went to press on the 19th November 2008.

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Last Updated on Monday, 05 January 2009 06:50

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