Minorities in Libraries

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.