Two great pieces of writing from Fred Stutzman on the Twitter/Library of Congress deal. Fred is an incredible commentator and analyst on Social Networking…if you aren’t reading him, you should be. From the second post:
If there’s one thing that social media has taught us, it is that if you post anything to the web, it stays there forever. Of course, this is empirically false. Companies go out of business, databases corrupt, servers crash, indexes get expunged, identifiers get mixed up, and even with the best intentions and good backups, data are lost. Think about the Google search results for your name. Are they the same they were 1, 3, or 5 years ago? While it is likely that you could tell me tons about new results that have come online over that time period, could you tell me about the ones that have gone offline?
New version of Google Docs rolling out over the next few days, with a new drawing tool rollling out today to users. Very exciting stuff…it looks like they really improved the “printability” of the documents. I can’t wait to try it out.
Microsoft today announced a new mobile phone platform, Kin, designed around capturing and sharing content. It integrates the Microsoft Zune experience, along with photo and video capture into two new phones, the Kin One and Kin Two. Video and more, after the break.
I meant to blog this when I first saw it weeks ago…researchers in Japan have produced what is, in effect, a “ripper” for physical print objects. This imaging chip can capture images at 500 frames per second, and then a computer can use those images to flatten, straighten, and OCR text on them. You can scan a book as fast as you can flip the pages.
From the article:
The system is currently a prototype that occupies an entire lab bench. But in the future, they hope to simplify and miniaturize it for integration into portable devices like a smartphone. So one day you might be able to flip the pages of a book in front of your iPhone and get a digitized version in seconds.
I’d apologize for the amount that I’ve been talking about the iPad here on Perpetual Beta, but it’s only because I really do believe that it has the potential to be a genre-defining device, something new that changes the technology landscape. I hope that you can put up with just a bit more.
Last night, the Apple press embargo lifted on the iPad, and several of the digiterati showed off the device, as well as posted their reviews. Here’s two good videos of the device, the first from Walt Mossberg, tech guru from the Wall Street Journal, and the second is a special edition of MacBreak Weekly featuring Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun-Times showing off what he’s learned while having an iPad for a week longer than the rest of us mere mortals.
Things I think are really key for libraries: the consolidation of the various eBook stores onto a single device, the ability, for the first time, to really have a good experience with Graphic Novels on a digital device, and the all-in-one media consumption that the iPad provides.
Given the Digital Magazine rack from a few days ago, I thought it would be good to show a few examples of the sorts of ways that publishers are approaching the digital magazine these days. With the iPad launching in just 2 weeks, many major publications are planning digital versions. Here’s what a few might look like:
Most interesting, I think, is what an already-digital magazine is doing with the freedom of the tablet form factor. This is VIV magazine’s take on what content might become. The second video is the “making of” that shows how they did it.
Here’s NPR’s Morning Edition on eBooks and the perceived value of such, and publisher’s unwillingness or inability to move past old business models.
My favorite piece that I’ve read on this subject lately is TechCrunch’s interview with Marc Andreessen, Burn the Boats. Here’s the best bit, but go and read the whole thing…well worth it.
He comes back to the simple fact that the open Web is where the users are. Talking about paywalls and paid apps is like saying, “We know where the market is and we are not going to go there.” Print newspapers and magazines will never get there, he argues, until they burn the boats and shut down their print operations. Yes, there are still a lot of people and money in those boats—billions of dollars in revenue in some cases. “At risk is 80% of revenues and headcount,” Andreessen acknowledges, “but shift happens.”
There are lots of things about this tension that libraries will be forced to deal with in the next 5 years, from print vs digital to which of our own particular boats we need to burn.
More details emerged about Apple’s upcoming iBook app just a few days ago when the iPad preorders began. Two things were confirmed that will be of interested to libraries and librarians, I think.
The first is that Apple finally confirmed that you will be able to load non-DRM ePub books onto the iPad via iTunes syncing, in addition to being able to purchase DRM titles directly from Apple. This is great news for anyone who likes reading the classics, as sites like Feedbooks already have nearly all their titles up in Non-DRM ePub format. It’s also good news for booksellers who deal in non-DRM titles, as they will be compatible with Apple’s new “magical” device.
iBooks works with VoiceOver, the screen reader in iPad, so it can read you the contents of any page.
If I’m parsing this tiny bit of information properly, that sounds like iBook hooks into an OS level text-to-speech convertor, which means that the iPad may be a very capable device for the visually impared. I will be very, very interested to see whether the Apple VoiceOver technology is controlable at the individual book level, and whether publishers can choose to disable it for given books as they do for the Amazon Kindle.
Here’s a demo of the sorts of ebooks that Penguin is developing for the iPad. Honestly, I find this a little uninspiring…really not very innovative. Let’s hope that other publishers can really find new ways of producing and presenting content.
Amazing article about content vs form, and how the iPad will start a revolution of not just digital books, but it may start a rebirth of amazing physical objects.
We’re losing the dredge of the publishing world: disposable books. The book printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity. The book produced to be consumed once and then tossed. The book you bin when you’re moving and you need to clean out the closet.
These are the first books to go. And I say it again, good riddance.
You already know the potential gains: edgier, riskier books in digital form, born from a lower barrier-to-entry to publish. New modes of storytelling. Less environmental impact. A rise in importance of editors. And, yes — paradoxically — a marked increase in the quality of things that do get printed.
Every librarian who worries about the loss of printed material: Read This.