I was at the Scholarship and Libraries in Transition on Friday, a symposium on how mass digitization affects libraries. I’m not a librarian but Tim O’Reilly was keynoting and since I’m not going to ETech or SXSW this year, it was a decent consolation prize.

One thing I noticed was the sheer number of Macs in the audience. I sat with Ed Vielmetti and met Bill and Barbara Tozier, all of whom had their iBooks with them. The local digerati weren’t anomalies; I would guess that the audience was about 40% Mac.

As an aside, the Toziers are involved with Project Gutenberg’s Distributed Proofreaders which is the Web 2.0 version of Google’s digitization project. Instead of a centralized effort to digitize books, DP pushes the work to the edges.

Back to my point and inflammatory title, a recent question on Ask MetaFilter was a survey on libraries offering free audiobooks. I thought it was interesting that there were so many Macs in the audience because, as I commented, my library offers audiobook downloads but because I’m on a Mac and have an iPod they’re useless to me.

I’m not bashing (well, not librarians). I realize that there’s a ton of licensing bullshit that goes into getting audiobooks into a downloadable format, and somewhere in the chain there’s someone for whom no DRM is a deal-breaker. I guess I’m just hopeful that if enough librarians are using Macs and can’t take advantage their own libraries online services that DRM will become a deal-breaker.

Personal to Kenyatta: Yes I still plan on writing a full library post.

4 responses to “Minorities in Libraries”

  1. Bill Tozier says:

    Barbara’s blogs are Bookp(h)ile, and her Ann Arbor forteana blog Odd Ends, where the posts are mainly transcribed from old Ann Arbor newspapers.
    And I’d call Distributed Proofreaders more of a “Web 1.1” version. It ought to be 2.0… but it ain’t. Not yet.

  2. Bill Tozier says:

    George, one serious correction that came to me after I looked over things:
    Distributed Proofreaders in no sense “belongs” to Project Gutenberg. It’s a parallel all-volunteer digitization effort, and for the moment many of the produced eTexts are released into the PG archives. But that is a marriage of convenience, not of association.
    They’re very different things, really.

  3. The logo says “Project Gutenberg’s Distributed Proofreaders” and the first paragraph on DP’s site says “Distributed Proofreaders became an official Project Gutenberg site and as such is supported by Project Gutenberg.”
    Is there something that explains the relationship between the two projects better? I’m having trouble reconciling your comment with the site.

  4. Bill Tozier says:

    Good point!
    Ummm… politics? 🙂

Leave a Reply