Saturday, April 25, 2009

Media Week 16: OCLC, Television, NYTimes

OCLC gather bibliographic experts to discuss metadata needs and practices for publishers and libraries. From their summary press release:
This report is a high level summary of proceedings, outcomes and proposed next steps. Participant biographies, agenda, presentations, related reading and upcoming events can also be accessed from this Symposium website.

Purpose of the Symposium: Explore current models for creation, distribution and maintenance of publisher supply chain and library metadata: Are they sustainable? What are the common needs? Are they subject to duplication of effort across communities? To what extent are they shared and interoperable?
Explore new paradigms for metadata creation, distribution and maintenance that: Are more easily shared and interoperable, start upstream and allow metadata to evolve over time, engage multiple communities in the metadata lifecycle
Also, OCLC has updated the interface for worldcat.org and it looks pretty spiffy. Here is a link to an entry for The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford and one of my favorite books.

OCLC also took an important step in creating a set of network services dedicated to the library community. Long in the making, OCLC has put some definition around how it sees its revised role in the library world. (This move by them requires a much longer post).
OCLC's vision is similar to Software as a Service (SaaS) but is distinguished by the cooperative "network effect" of all libraries using the same, shared hardware, services and data, rather than the alternative model of hosting hardware and software on behalf of individual libraries. Libraries would subscribe to Web-scale management services that include modular management functionality. Moreover, libraries would benefit from the network-level integration of numerous services that are not currently part traditional integrated library systems, e.g., Knowledge Base Integration, WorldCat Collection Analysis, WorldCat Selection, WorldCat Local, etc..
NYTimes (via GigaOm) points out the likely long term failure of international rights in the age of eBooks. (Well not really but that's at the core of this issue). NYT
So we see that Fictionwise is not the only retailer affected by these outdated licensing practices, and that’s exactly what is at play here. Publishers like Fictionwise and Amazon do not own the content they sell, they simply license it for sale just like you and I license it when we buy e-books. The archaic licensing system means that publishers have to make separate license deals for each country in which they want to sell e-books. This is something that is very difficult to do, even for the bigger houses like Fictionwise and Amazon.
BTW - Those DVD's that President Obama give to Gordon Brown a week ago don't work in the UK. (Guardian)

In Newsweek, read about changes in Television that could presage changes in publishing.
For decades network TV has been about reach. Programmers traditionally chose shows with broad appeal, the better to get millions of viewers and, in turn, persuade national advertisers to buy those eyeballs. That era is essentially over and the networks are scrambling to adapt to a fragmented landscape where even popular shows are lucky to pull in 10 million viewers. "They have to rethink what they put on the air, how many hours they'll do it, everything in their playbook," says a former top executive who now produces TV shows.
LATimes festival of books and discussing the future of books. The always quotable Richard Nash: (LAT)
Nash noted that poetry micropresses are flourishing in this new, hectic publishing environment. With what may be the quote of the festival, he added, "Poetry, like porn, is a harbinger of culture."
Private Equity investment firm has taken a bath on NYTimes shares and maybe looking to off load them. Who would buy? Reuters

Interest has grown as Harbinger, which bought the shares as part of a campaign against the Times to change its business, reels from losses in its funds, the Journal reported.

Harbinger bought the Times stake over a period of weeks in 2007 and 2008, eventually pouring more than $500 million into the publisher. Since then, Times shares have fallen along with other newspapers, which are fighting for their lives as advertising revenue slumps.

Harbinger's stake is worth less than $160 million now.

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