Librarian Communities on Google+

Google+If you use Google+ you are probably already aware of the new Communities function.

Many librarians were quick to utilize this new functionality to create social and professional groups.  Already these Communities have formed and some are quickly growing quite large and active:

So if you haven’t tried Google+, Google+ Communities might be the best reason yet to give it a try.


ALA vs. AAP: The Blow-by-Blow


The battle is heating up between two industries struggling to find their way in the digital world.  Publishers are trying to figure out the best distribution models for ebooks while libraries are shut out of providing ebooks by several major publishers.  The proxy battle is being fought by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP).

The beginning stages in 2011 (see Eric Hellman’s blog post on 1/1/2012) were just the beginning.  Last month saw an aggressive ALA president issue demands to the publishers who responded quickly in an equally stern manner.

Here is a timeline of headlines and press releases which described blow-by-blow the actions and reactions of the two sides.

1/1/2012 – AAP: 2011: The Year the eBook Wars Broke Out [Go To Hellman]

2/2/2012 – AAP: Fair Trade: Random House Will Raise Library E-book Prices, But Commits to E-Book Lending [Publishers Weekly]

2/3/2012 – AAP: Random House makes history, says it will sell books to libraries with no restriction on number of loans [Melville House]

2/9/2012 – ALA: Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive [The Digital Shift]

3/2/2012 – AAP: Librarians Feel Sticker Shock as Price for Random House Ebooks Rises as Much as 300 Percent [The Digital Shift]

3/22/2012 – AAP: Video: Annual Meeting, Publishers and Libraries Panel [Association of American Publishers]

5/18/2012 – ALA: Ebooks: Promising New Conversations [American Libraries]

5/29/2012 – ALA: E-Content: The Digital Dialog supplement [American Library Association]

6/21/2012 – AAP: Penguin to Pilot Library E-Book Lending Program in New York, Windowing Front-List Titles [Digital Book World]

8/8/2012 – ALA: ALA Releases “Ebook Business Models for Public Libraries” [ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group]

9/14/2012 – AAP: Hachette Book Group’s New Library eBook Pricing [OverDrive]

9/14/2012 – ALA: This Just In: ALA Decries Hachette’s 104% Library Ebook Price Increase (Corrected) [American Libraries]

9/24/2012 – AAP: Macmillan Poised to Test Library E-book Model [Publishers Weekly]

9/24/2012 – ALA: An open letter to America’s publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan [ALA Press Release]

9/25/2012 – AAP: AAP Statement in Response to American Library Association President’s Letter [AAP Press Release]

9/27/2012 – ALA: Remarks by ALA President Maureen Sullivan at the Association of American Publishers Fall Meeting [American Libraries]

10/2/2012 – ALA: Focus on the Future [American Libraries]

NISO Open Discovery Initiative Survey

NISOHere is a request from the ODI Working Group to complete their survey.

The Open Discovery Initiative (ODI), a working group of the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), has been formed to develop a Recommended Practice related to the index-based discovery services for libraries. ODI aims to investigate and improve the ecosystem surrounding these discovery services, with a goal of broader participation of content providers and increased transparency to libraries.

An important component of our work involves gathering information from the key stakeholders: libraries, content providers, and developers of discovery products. 

If you are involved in discovery services we request that you respond to our survey. The survey results will provide essential information to the workgroup as it develops recommended practices related to discovery services. A full report on the findings of this survey will be made available publically on the NISO website later this year.

We are especially interested in input from:

  • libraries that have implemented or plan to implement a discovery service and
  • organizations that potentially contribute content to one or more of these services:
    • primary publishers,
    • producers of aggregated databases of citation or full-text content for libraries, and
    • creators of abstracting and indexing services.

We anticipate that the survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.

All respondents that identify themselves will be entered into a drawing for one of six $25 Amazon e-gift cards, kindly sponsored by Ex Libris and SAGE. These respondents will also receive a copy of the aggregated results. Note that any results shared will be anonymous and only aggregate data will be released. 

In addition, if you are interested in keeping up to date with ODI, please sign up to our Interest mailing list – 

Thank you

ODI Working Group

Visit the Open Discovery Initiative Workroom website.

Meebo Alternatives

meeboSince Meebo announced it will be shutting down on July 11th, librarians who use the service have been scrambling to find an alternative to the free IM program.  The listservs are abuzz with suggestions for alternatives and recommendations.  Here are a few options:

  • Zoho – Web-based chat and website widget.
  • – This is a free web-based chat service.  It seems the only chat widgets are third-party.
  • AIM – This well-known IM client has a chat widget and app for every mobile platform.
  • Google Talk – IM, voice chat, and file transfer.  Integrates with Gmail.
  • Spark – An open-source IM client.  Note that the widget is only on version 0.9.
  • Pidgin – Free universal chat program.
  • LiveZilla – Customizable widget and client software.
  • LibraryH3lp – A library-specific chat service for a flat annual fee.

Read the LISNews article Meebo Messenger, Meebo Me discontinued July 11, 2012.

Read the LibraryH3lp blog post Meebo Migrations: Alternatives for Libraries.

THE TECH SET Book Series

Neal-SchumanOther than attending the occasional training session, webinar, or conference workshop, much of what a professional librarian needs to learn will be self-taught.  Knowing this, Neal-Schuman created THE TECH SET book series.

Edited by sought-after educator, emerging-technology information consultant, and librarian, Ellyssa Kroski, these start-to-finish primers will have you ready to implement all the essential technologies and tools you need to deliver outstanding new services and remain relevant in the digital age.

THE TECH SET doesn’t end with the printed books.  Neal-Schuman supplements the books with author wikis and podcasts.

The first series of ten titles was released late last year and the publisher has just released a second set of titles 11-20.  Below we have a combined list of the entire series to date.

  1. Next Gen Library Catalogs by Marchall Breeding
  2. Mobile Technology and Libraries by Jason Griffey
  3. Microblogging and Lifestreaming in Libraries by Robin Hastings
  4. Library Videos and Webcasts by Sean Robinson
  5. Wikis for Libraries by Lauren Pressley
  6. Technology Training in Libraries by Sarah Houghton-Jan
  7. A Social Networking Primer for Libraries by Cliff Landis
  8. Library Camps and Unconferences by Steve Lawson
  9. Gaming in Libraries by Kelly Czarnecki
  10. Effective Blogging for Libraries by Connie Crosby
  11. Cloud Computing for Libraries by Marshall Breeding
  12. Building Mobile Library Applications by Jason A. Clark
  13. Location-Aware Services and QR Codes for Libraries by Joe Murphy
  14. Drupal in Libraries by Kenneth J. Varnum
  15. Strategic Planning for Social Media in Libraries by Sarah K. Steiner
  16. Next-Gen Library Resdesign by Michael Lascarides
  17. Screencasting for Libraries by Greg R. Notess
  18. User Experience (UX) Design for Libraries by Aaron Schmidt and Amanda Etches
  19. IM and SMS Reference Services for Libraries by Amanda Bielskas and Kathleen M. Dreyer
  20. Semantic Web Technologies and Social Searching for Librarians by Robin M. Fay and Michael P. Sauers

Justice Department To Sue Apple and Major Publishers

iPadThe fallout from the implementation of the agency model for ebook selling hasn’t died.  Today, the Wall Street Journal says that the US Justice Department is going to sue Apple and five major book publishers.

The five publishers facing a potential suit are CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster Inc.; Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group; Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group (USA); Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a unit of News Corp. , which also owns The Wall Street Journal.


The case centers on Apple’s move to change the way that publishers charged for e-books as it prepared to introduce its first iPad in early 2010. Traditionally, publishers sold books to retailers for roughly half of the recommended cover price. Under that “wholesale model,” booksellers were then free to offer those books to customers for less than the cover price if they wished. Most physical books are sold using this model.

There are several proposed ideas for settling the matter.  One idea is “to preserve the agency model but allow some discounts by booksellers” but it’s unclear how that would work.  Another idea is delaying the release of digital versions after the publishing of the printed version.

Read the article U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers.

Library Ebooks Lending Progress

Random HouseLast week we posted that ALA would meet with major publishers to discuss making their ebooks available in libraries.  Was there any progress?  Actually, there was.

Random House, the largest of the big six publishing firms, announced that it would sell ebooks to libraries again.  They are going to use a new model of (higher) library pricing but the ebooks won’t ever expire.  What’s implied here is a lending model based on the physical model of one checkout of an ebook at a time.  A Random House Spokesman said:

“Our commitment to libraries, as imperative to our momentum, if not to our existence as publishers, is greater than ever. The leadership of Random House grew up in large part loving libraries and we believe libraries are indispensable in bringing readers and books buyers to our authors’ works. It’s an emotional as well as a practical commitment in our support and our enthusiasm for libraries.”

An article from American Libraries made no mention of the change in policy at Random House.  It seemed most of the talks involved ALA leaders educating the publishers on ebook lending practices and trying to alleviate their fears.

In meeting with publishers who currently do not sell ebooks to libraries, we shared our profession’s concerns regarding the impact of these practices on library users, many of whom rely solely on the public library for their reading choices. In some instances, we found that there were misconceptions about how libraries operate that, once clarified, mitigated some of these publishers’ concerns. For example, some publishers had the impression that libraries lend to whomever visited their respective websites, thus making collections available virtually worldwide without restriction.

Further reading:

ALA Meets with Major Publishers

American Library AssociationAccording to Library Journal, leaders of two industries trying to figure out their business models in the rapidly-changing digital world met today.  American Library Associate executives met with representatives of at least three of the major publishers at the ALA Midwinter 2012 Conference in Dallas.  From the Annoyed Librarian:

There’s some tough talk from the ALA Executive Director, who said, “I want to assure you that the dialog will begin with us saying ‘you need to deal with libraries and you need to do this as soon as possible,’ then we can have a dialog  starting from there.” I’ve attended a lot of meetings in my time and I’ve never seen one that began so belligerently accomplish anything.


Were I a Simon & Schuster representative – and for all you know I am – my response to that line would be, “Or what?” That sounds mild, but I’d say it in a really hostile tone of voice, and I’d be really menacing and all.

Read the article In Which I Solve the Ebook Library Lending Problem.