Ebooks in libraries

Masters, Gary E GEM at CDRH.FDA.GOV
Mon Oct 2 09:12:38 EDT 2000


I feel like a person in one of those films where someone says "Hear, Hear!"

Hear!  Hear!

I was also a bit surprised to not see so much interest, but that is the
nature of our work.  We spend so much time up to our ears and putting out
fires that we don't have time for things in the future.  Two years, when I
was at Texas A&M in Laredo, only the Acquisitions Librarian and myself were
talking ebook.  When I left, everyone was interested and we had spent a
significant  sum on them.  

Eye-strain and cost are temporary.  We ought to see two lines of development
based on band width; text readers with very good resolution that are slow
and multimedia readers that do good video, but still are not as clear as
print.  Perhaps a middle of the road attempt will pay attention to the
content and adjust the screen to be clear for text.  My estimate is two
years to get them out with both low cost and good images.  

But the technology is really not the point.  

If they (publishers) ignore what is fair - and it will not be the same as
for print - they will have their worst fears come home.  Some short term
benefits for long term confusion.  And if you can spell China, you may know
where it can happen.  

So, the question is "What is fair?"



Gary E. Masters
Librarian (Systems)
(301) 827-6893 

	-----Original Message-----
	From:	Andrew K. Pace [SMTP:andrew_pace at ncsu.edu]
	Sent:	Monday, October 02, 2000 8:31 AM
	To:	Multiple recipients of list
	Subject:	[WEB4LIB] Re: Ebooks in libraries

	I was surprised to see no response to Gary's email about Ebooks2000.
I am also
	surprised that so much of the talk has focused on eye-strain and the
high cost
	of readers.  My surprise is dwarfed, however, by my dismay at some
of the things
	I was hearing at this conference.  I have included my comments that
I shared
	with my library below.  I hope libraries begin to think harder and
faster on
	what to do about ebooks.

	I just returned from Ebooks2000 conference in DC, where there were
three main
	thrusts: Standards, Piracy, and DIGITAL
	RIGHTS MANAGEMENT.  I was very interested to find CNI and ARL absent
from the
	conference (or, if they were there, they
	were quiet).  The horse is out of the barn on this one, and
libraries will
	undoubtedly be left to saddle that horse at a full gallop if we
	do not act fast.

	Several vendors are working on the OeB (Open Ebook) standard (LoC is
the only
	library "participant," understandable at
	$5000/yr for voting rights), the EBX (Electronic Book Exchange)
standard, and
	the XrML (XML for DRM) standard.  Get
	this one...the AAP (Association of American Publishers) is working
on a standard
	for book description called ONIX, you
	know, stuff like title, author, subject code.  Slow going so far
since they
	realized that they need some sort of weird thing called
	"authority control."  Sandra Paul, Exec Dir. of the Book Industry
Study Group,
	mentioned that the goal is a single standard that
	all publishers and vendors can use.  When I asked her how ONIX would
get along
	with MARC, she mentioned that LoC was
	advising BISG on porting the data and that the two standards could
	"Isn't that two standards?" I asked.  "Well, sort
	of...not really...they complement each other," was the reply.   The
	representative who was supposed to participate
	confirmed during this meeting that there had been no contact so far
from BISG or

	Carol Risher spoke.  You might recognize her as the AAP bull-dog on
	protection (think Gnomon, Kinko's, MDS,
	and Texaco).  She now works for a consulting firm that is going to
help vendors
	"navigate the difficult minefield of DRM."
	When I asked her if her "navigation" strategy included a plan for
	adherance to the Fair Use portion of the copyright law,
	she replied (I am paraphrasing): "There is no such thing as
adherance to Fair
	Use.  One can only apply the four provisions of
	Fair Use to whatever content one is facing."  Pretty scarey stuff
	that the vendors and standards-makers (read
	"vendors") are going to be incorporating description and DRM
metadata into their
	content.  That means that "use" will be
	predetermined technologically.  READ THAT SENTENCE AGAIN...now

	What can we do?  What should we do?  Is ARL or CNI or ALA nimble
enough to act.
	This time next year, the
	standards will be in place, the vendor pack will have narrowed.
	predictions: Adobe, Microsoft, GemStar, Lightning
	Source, BN.com, Amazon, Versaware; loser predictions: goReader, IBM,
	DigitalOwl;  ones to watch:
	netLibrary, ebrary, RightsMarket, Reiciprocal, ContentGuard, LoC,
and ARL

	What are we prepared to do?

	"Masters, Gary E" wrote:

	> I have been attending the 3rd Annual Electronic Book 2000
Conference and
	> Show and until Thomas Peters (Center for Library Initiatives)
spoke never
	> heard the phrase "fair use."  I did  hear a great deal from Dick
	> (Microsoft) who thought civilization would fail if the money
stopped going
	> to the publishers.  He did acknowledge libraries after a question
	> thought that they were a historic way to cheat publishers.  (My
	> translation.)  Peters was quite good in his presentation "Text and
Text -
	> Bearing Devices" and I encouraged him to publish it.
	> Now, I like what ebooks will become and think that the eye strain
	> will soon be gone and that the ebook has a great way to put many
pages in a
	> small package (why not elibrary instead of ebook?) , stay updated,
	> media, and even present information to people who can not read.  I
saw a
	> device to produce Braille from an ebook at one tenth of the
current cost for
	> translators.  It was a prototype from NIST, but a bold expression
	> engineering.
	> I have notes and handouts, so if there are questions that I can
answer -
	> please feel free to ask.  I will do what I can.
	> However, most of my thinking is about payment.  The British
library model
	> keeps coming to mind.  It seems that if there is any way to keep
track of
	> royalty payments it will come out of the British experiment or
perhaps ILL.
	> All books are not alike and there is no point of dividing the pot
	> Perhaps we can even get money flowing to those that contribute to
	> articles.  If research were paid according to the number that read
it, one
	> might expect an improvement in quality of writing.  But perhaps
	> But here is the point of my message.  There are bright people who
	> here.  Perhaps we can devise some payment method that seems fair
and is not
	> out of line with what people think fair  AND is easy.  I am
working on my
	> thoughts, but they seem divided between micropayments and having
	> umbrella payment.  How?  I don't know.  It is a mystery.
	> Also, not the point, but perhaps more important, lets keep in the
face of
	> ebook publishers with fair use and make sure that it stays fair.
We may not
	> get all that we want, but they seem interested in cooperation.
	> working on it.  There was someone from ALA there.  After all, we
could be
	> their best customers.  They could be our best resources.
	> That would be nice.
	> Gary E. Masters
	> Librarian (Systems)
	> (301) 827-6893

	Andrew K. Pace
	Assistant Head, Systems ~ NCSU Libraries
	North Carolina State University ~ Raleigh, NC
	andrew_pace at ncsu.edu ~ 919-515-3087

More information about the Web4lib mailing list