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Monday, October 17, 2011

Kansas Leading the Fight for Fair Ebook Access in Libraries

Librarians have been stereotyped as being passive (or passive aggressive) and shy. Well, that's never been entirely true. I never would have gone into the profession had I not been fortunate to have taken classes from Dave Berninghausen and Nancy Rohde from the UMN or being able to meet the amazing Judy Krug during my graduate days. I learned that information is important, critical to individuals, societies and a democracy. Jo Budler, Kansas State Librarian obviously learned this somewhere down the road as well. It was a privilege to be able to learn about her and talk with her about her strong, assertive efforts to best serve the needs of the people of Kansas - and in the larger picture, the rest of us - in this wrinkle in time between p-books and e-books. I was asked to write about the Kansas situation for Information Today's NewsBreaks, which was just published on their blog today.

Give it a good look. We need clear thinking and attention to the intended role and function of libraries in our society - and we all have much to learn from Budler's example.

Your thoughts?

Monday, October 10, 2011

University Presses Lead the Way for Publisher-Based Ebook Systems

University presses throughout the world occupy an important and unique position, sharing common commitments to scholarship, the academy, and society. In today's quickly changing publishing environment - with all publishers having to find a way to move from p-books (printed paperbacks and hardcovers) to at least offer e-book alternatives. Commercial publishers mired in their concerns about licensing, losing properties, maintaining control and copyright. Little concern seems to surface for looking at not only their own futures (in a world in which 'publishing' itself takes on new meaning as anyone can take to the web to share ideas and find financial success) but that of their readers and institutions like libraries that have been created to protect and promote free and full access to information.

However, it seems as though university presses may be taking the bold steps that are needed. I just published a NewsBrief for Information Today that looks at some very interesting, collaborative efforts of the 100+ scholarly presses to create new opportunities, new platforms and new user experiences.

Whether these efforts, by themselves, succeed or are supplanted by other endeavors, these presses deserve credit for moxy, creativity and the courage to face the future boldly.

What do you think about these efforts? Read the article and let me or the NewsBreaks folks know your thoughts!