Electronic Resources on Social Media Sites

Social Media iconsFollow or friend your favorite electronic resource websites on three major social networking sites: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.  The database vendors often use these outlets to give updates, offer free access trials, and announce downtime.





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.
  • imo.im – 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.

Does the Digital Public Library of America Have a Future?

Technology Review Library GraphicSeveral companies and organizations are attempting to make all printed books available online.  From Project Gutenberg (public domain books only), to Google Book Search, the HathiTrust, and the Open Library.  Now, Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society is creating the Digital Pulbic Library of America (DPLA).  But with issues of copyright, does the DPLA have a future?

From Technology Review:

It sounds straightforward. And if it were just a matter of moving bits and bytes around, a universal online library might already exist. Google, after all, has been working on the challenge for 10 years. But the search giant’s book program has foundered; it is mired in a legal swamp. Now another momentous project to build a universal library is taking shape. It springs not from Silicon Valley but from Harvard University. The Digital Public Library of America—the DPLA—has big goals, big names, and big contributors. And yet for all the project’s strengths, its success is far from assured. Like Google before it, the DPLA is learning that the major problem with constructing a universal library nowadays has little to do with technology. It’s the thorny tangle of legal, commercial, and political issues that surrounds the publishing business. Internet or not, the world may still not be ready for the library of utopia.

The DPLA still has to overcome fundamental issues of its mission, goals, and even its name and role as a library.

Read the article The Library of Utopia.

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:

Proposed Global Library Consortium for Academic Ebooks

In another big meeting of publishers and librarians recently took place at Harvard during which the idea of a Global Library Consortium (GLC) was presented.  Here’s how it would work according to the Publishers Weekly article:

The GLC proposal would operate on a similar basis [to SCOAP3], with libraries pooling together into a membership coalition that purchases the rights to titles offered by participating publishers. Those books would then be made available on an open access basis, perhaps with Creative Commons license terms. Libraries would place bids for each offered title into a pool, in a fashion similar to the way Groupon works; if there was sufficient interest to hit the price trigger point, the publisher would release the title into the open access pool with costs apportioned among participating institutions. Once made open access, titles would be publicly readable through a web browser interface, but downloadable PDFs or EPUBs would only be freely available to GLC members.

The GLC proposal offers a number of very significant advantages. Primarily, it would stabilize the scholarly monograph market by compensating publishers for their fixed costs in producing their first copy. It also retains a measure of competition by specifying that the more attractive book delivery formats (PDF, EPUB) are sold commercially outside of the GLC membership. It also reduces press overhead by partially releasing marketing and sales staff from the vagaries of having to sell to an unknown number of university library buyers.

But as with all propesed ebook distribution models, there are concerns by the publishers on profitability.  They must figure out how to price items across the board when popular and more obscure are offered in the same pool.  However, with tighter budgets, libraries may not want to buy in to an entire pool.  Other challenges covered in the article include technical ones including online access versus download and full-text versus metadata searching.

Read the Publishers Weekly article Academic E-Books: Innovation and Transition.