Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kabul Intercontinental 1973

Kabul Intercontinental, 1973
Another weekly image from the family archive. Click on it to make it larger.

The hotel on a hill. We visited once back in the early 1970s when all was relatively calm. Sad news this week that the hotel was the site of a terrorist attack.

More from the trip that year on flickr.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ALA Speech Parallel Universe: Monographs don't support the library mission.

I was asked to participate in a panel discussion on the relationship between publishers and libraries and specifically asked to present a speech I gave at the Frankfurt book fair last October.

(The slides referenced by the numbers in the texts below are located here).

(1) Good Afternoon and thanks for having me. Sometimes when you come last in a series of speakers you run the risk of repeating some of what the previous speakers spoke about but I hope that’s not the case with my comments.

Towards the end of last year, I was asked to make a presentation at a small conference connected to the Frankfurt bookfair. I have made presentations to this group before and the general themes discussed have always been centered around the publishing supply chain. In my presentation that day I chose to speak about how libraries and publishers should think about their relationship with a view to using the current general dislocation of the publishing business as an opportunity to ‘re-set’ the relationship.

Based on that speech I was asked to participate in this meeting and again speak about the same issues. In fact, I’ve made very few changes to the original presentation and frankly, if anything, over the intervening months the relationship between publishers and libraries has become worse rather than better.

To a group of mostly publishers at Frankfurt, I wanted to stress that there is a lot going on in the library world relevant to them but to which they remain largely ignorant. This room in contrast is a room full of experts and I hope that I don’t insult you with what may seem basic details about what you are all experiencing.

Significant change is afoot, and any business that is connected to the publishing industry is experiencing change and increasing complexity: Libraries are no different.

We naturally associate books with libraries but monographs have not supported the library mission for decades. (2) Data even hints that books are not a success story in the current library environment. I expect my statement might strike you as odd – perhaps controversial – but research data from a range of studies confirms that books are expensive to manage, under-utilized, hard to navigate and of declining importance to scholarship. Don’t forget that books also suffer from opportunity cost: Decisions to purchase specific books are rarely optimized with demand and; thus, books that may have supported a need are not purchased and books that were purchased sit on shelves rarely used. Other than that they are perfect.

Many agree particularly in trade publishing that the publisher/library model must change as content migrates to electronic forms but a deeper analysis of these data implies something more fundamental. We need to re-examine the definition of the monograph.

Libraries face many practical challenges. (3) Despite remaining critically important to their respective communities, public and academic libraries are under tremendous strain. This is particularly true of the public library. If not from actual dwindling revenue sources causing layoffs, closings and reduced services, then from the passive aggressive stance of publishers who threaten to withhold their electronic titles from library patrons or limit the total number of check outs for titles purchased by the library. In tandem, academic libraries face different but no less challenging issues about their position in education generally and on campus specifically.

(4) This bleak outlook obscures the fact that big important questions are being asked and meticulously addressed about the future of books in the library. At all levels, libraries are embarked on a radical redesign and reevaluation of their activities which will redefine the library for monographs. These changes are almost completely hidden to publishers and, at a critical juncture in the transformation of the relationship between publishing and libraries neither side seems to know or appreciate enough about the circumstances of other.

(5) In particular, the sharp disagreement over the provision of eContent may permanently fracture the always uneasy alliance between book publishers and libraries as more content migrates to electronic form and consumers make electronic delivery their format of choice. This should be troubling to anyone who believes – as I do – that libraries and publishers share a desire to expand knowledge and community around books.

(6) My comments today take the library perspective and I have organized my comments around three themes.

(7) Firstly, how important are libraries to publishers in monetary terms? Secondly, a look at some of the most important strategic library initiatives under way and, thirdly some views on the future for libraries and publishers.

(8) First, at approximately $2.0billion, all library segments represent approximately 5% of industry revenues. This makes the entire segment approximately the size of a large chain retailer. There are over 13,000 public and academic libraries in the US and these figures would suggest an average annual book spend of approximately $150,000. That may be a reasonable average although I must add that auditable data is impossible to come by so if you look into these numbers your mileage may vary.

The primary focus of this presentation will be on the academic library environment; however, let me make some brief comments about the situation with public libraries in the US.

(9) To the general public, the value of libraries is unquestioned and here in the next sequence of slides are data from OCLC and a report I’ll note in a moment. Americans believe public libraries improve their quality of life and view the library as a resource to help them navigate an uncertain future. (I often seek refuge there myself).

The library patron of 2010 seeks help, (10) reference material, education and community yet as economic circumstances deteriorate library budgets are slashed and services limited or eliminated. (11) Thus, while visits and circulation are up (12) so are closings and service reductions.

(13) Academic libraries are not immune to macro economic changes either; although they seem to have more flexibility to devise new methods of dealing with some of the economic challenges they face. As you may know, the library collection is viewed as a point of comparison (14) and remains important to the institutions accreditation but on campus libraries face challenges to their traditional position that might even include how effectively they are using the library building. Increasingly, the academic library is facing particular challenges in their ability to deliver more effective and efficient services. In this environment – and maybe because of it - revolutionary approaches to collection management are being tested and implemented.

For example, (15) can you envision an academic library with no physical books? That sounds absurd – even crazy - yet during a recent renovation, a large state university library removed all their books from the library and placed them in off site storage. Service for students and faculty during this renovation was impacted only minimally and once the library space was remodeled not all the books returned. Not only do the remaining books at this library look more like decorative display items than accessible resources but the space has been reconfigured to match a changed teaching environment. NYU removed 30% of their collection during a similar renovation. At the University of Texas, a new library received national attention as a library without any “books” There are more and more examples –including a new library in Chicago - of this changed approach to collection development and management.

As libraries rethink their physical collections, we shouldn’t lose sight of some more fundamental problems that book publishers should be aware of. The Association of Research Libraries publishes annual statistics and these reflect some troubling data points with respect to monographic purchasing trends over the last 20 years.

(16) Serials publishers with their revenues up an average of 7.3% per year will be excited. Over the same period, the monograph publisher has seen prices grow a measly 2.9% per year with most of that increase occurring in the early years. Even more troubling, the number of titles purchased each year has straight lined since 1986. With an explosion in books published over just the past ten years, academic libraries are buying the same number of books as they were in 1988. Virtually all other categories have outstripped spending on books (including the consumer price index). To add salt to the wounds, student and faculty populations have grown over this period but this growth has not translated into more books purchased. And as an aside, circulation is also going in the wrong direction.

Importantly, these statistics are definitive: They are not isolated. When we contemplate how to approach the library market it is important that we recognize that current experience is very much a reflection of prior performance. In other words, I don’t believe we can expect this to get any “better”. It appears, monographs have been losing the knowledge race in university libraries for a long time and, if publishers value this segment then they need to recognize and then understand this.

Not all the data is so black and white and perhaps there is some good news for publishers. For example, (17) viewing supply and demand in ARL libraries via the prism of inter library loans we see significant increases year over year for books loaned and borrowed. ILL isn’t studied in detail but I recently learned from OCLC that they are conducting more analysis of this area and their initial research shows some interesting findings. For example, they have been astonished to learn of the number of times a single title (18) has been loaned more than fifty times in one year. It appears libraries are relying more and more on ILL to support spikes in their local demand.

According to OCLC, these “hot titles” are often widely held titles suggesting that the data begs for more analysis. Certainly as a monograph publisher you would be troubled by some of these stats and would want more analysis.

In summary, we face significant challenges in the academic and public segments concerning financial and economic issues however we can’t ignore the tenuous relevance of the monograph itself. Can it be business as usual for the monograph?

Which brings me to the second part of my talk where I discuss some of the change programs already underway.

(19) The academic library has been forced to re-evaluate its activities for a variety of reasons. If we think about the changes made generally over the past 20 years to accommodate a migration from paper to electronic materials seen particularly in serials then the current impact on monographs should have been anticipated. In other words it was foreseen.

One important change initiative could be characterized as driven by “efficiency”. As the thinking goes; “are we as librarians delivering the appropriate services in the most efficient manner?” Whereas detailed cost analysis has always been possible and in some cases executed, economic realities now enable solutions that previously may have been unrealistic for practical or political reasons. The life time cost of maintaining a monograph collection were always known to be expensive but limited alternatives to the open stack paradigm made real analysis irrelevant. With the rapid escalation in digitization programs and a collective, more open and realistic approach to resource sharing, libraries now have viable options with respect to down-sizing their monograph collections. This now defined expense coupled with the very real costs of real estate and development projects for new buildings has many university administrators salivating over all that “under-utilized” space.

(20) Research conducted by Paul Courant and Mathew Nielsen (The Idea of Order) explicitly documents the costs of maintaining a print monograph collection. The opportunity for publishers may rely on turning this analysis of the ‘life time cost’ of holding book into a sales opportunity for eBooks. The authors also calculate (21) that a typical academic library could be spending about $1mm just to maintain their legacy print collection. And in an environment where monograph usage is declining this large annual expense begins to look like an onerous and miss-guided use of funds. And for publishers, what response do you think you will you get if you ask them to – in effect – add to this annual expense by buying more print?

As I noted earlier, the case for a wholesale reevaluation of the idea of books in the library has gained credibility. As strange as it is to say, the physical book collection may not be needed. It may be both economical and efficient to remove them. Constance Malpas from OCLC goes a bit further when she comments (22) that “books have already left the building” – with over 70mm volumes having been removed from local collections and placed in off-site storage. Some important universities have determined that they can operate with little or no diminution of service while reducing their on-site collections.

Simply moving books off site however, doesn’t represent a total solution. As the authors Courant and Nielsen note, electronic storage in addition to or combination with physical collections is most optimal because access to an electronic version of a book aids in selection of the title. If a user is able to look at the TOC or index or search the electronic version in advance of requesting the title then they are more likely to request from off-site storage books they really need. Large (23) digitization programs such as Hathi Trust and others are beginning to support this type of “mixed platform” hybrid.

The Hathi Trust is one of several digital repositories. At Hathi, their mass-digitized collection is sufficient to replace at least 30% of most academic print book collections. The potential savings are very real (24). Hathi grows daily and other repositories add titles at a similar rate. All have a different collection profiles and different partnerships but at some point these repositories themselves will collaborate and weave together their collections so that the overlap or replacement potential across academic library collections will near 100%. Publics will also see some benefit here as well.

So what are we seeing here? Initially, I spoke about the cost savings from more efficient use of physical space and transitioned into discussion about shared repositories of content. These activities are closely related and will be progressively augmented and expanded with further network level services. In short, more sophistication will ensue concerning access, applications and services focused on monograph content that historically was distributed in the extreme volume by volume and library by library.

Strategically, what might these initiatives mean for publishers? Libraries are not saying emphatically they don’t want print but their policies and practices are changing. In some cases new books go immediately to off site storage. In accessing these assets, the library also wants a digital copy that they can place in the catalog for search and discovery. The shared approach to collection management while primarily reflective today of their retrospective print collections will become the paradigm for future purchases – both print and eBooks. Going forward publishers will be expected to accommodate this. While representing a challenge for both libraries and publishers there may be opportunities in working toward a new business model. Recall, that the combination of the ILL statistics and the Hathi stats on title overlap suggests – strongly – that supply and demand is significantly out of balance. Addressing this is an opportunity.

(25) This discussion would not be complete without also bringing in the migration to eBooks and eContent. It may be in the transition to an eBook environment where publishers and libraries will clash. Beware however that it would be a significant mistake for book publishers to assume libraries are ignorant of the issues and complexities of eBook and eContent business models as I think I have just demonstrated.

In fact, libraries may (in this room I can say ‘they do’) have a more experienced view of the eContent business models than many book publishers. Libraries participated in the migration of print serials and journals to online databases and most importantly facilitated the monumental improvements in the provision of serials content to this segment. Some see similar and maybe greater opportunities as the monograph makes this transition.

But publishers see eBooks in libraries as problematic. There may be more acceptance of eBooks in the academic library setting but thus far much less so in the public library segment. (26) A recent report published by Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) suggested that libraries seek to organize a national buying pool to source and negotiate eBook deals with publishers. We’ll see how far they get with that.

Which brings me to the last part of this presentation.

“How is that a good model for us?” (27) is how Macmillan CEO John Sargent put it when discussing the role of libraries in the future. He was referring to the ability of a patron to loan an eBook from their living room without having to stand up. “In the old world” he said, “there was a certain amount of friction in the chain that precluded this type of ease of use.” To take this model to its obvious conclusion, wouldn’t every reader get a library card and an eBook reader and download books free from their local library? Perhaps, and in that circumstance it would be hard to recognize the value of this model to publishers.

Libraries see it differently though: EBooks represent an opportunity to engage people who can’t or won’t come to the local library. The practical benefits of eBooks mitigate the reduction in opening hours, staffing and geographic/location issues that preclude use of the libraries. Academic libraries in particular also see huge opportunities to improve the utility of the eBook titles they buy.

The COSLA report also pointed out access to eBooks is currently nowhere close to the environment envisioned by Sargent. The study confirmed that getting eBooks isn’t convenient or easy to do. Typically, the user interface is described as unfriendly and the fact that eBook sites are often not integrated with a library’s web site makes the eBook catalog hard to find.

(28) Looking forward to a new model publishers naturally and quite rightly require a model that represents “true-value” for their sales into the segment but, in my opinion wondering whether eBooks can be managed, controlled or rationed in the library marketplace misses the larger picture: Monographs are on the downswing. The bigger question we should be asking is “Why don’t monographs work in the library anymore?”

There should be mutual interest here: Publishers want to continue to make their monographs available to libraries and libraries want to most effectively match their collections to the demands of their patrons. What might these areas of cooperation encompass and does the migration of formats – print to eBook – represent an opportunity to reinvigorate the book?

Here are four suggested programs libraries and publishers might consider adopting in concert to their mutual interest. (29)

Firstly, there is too little market intelligence about the behavior of a library patron from their use of the library material to their book buying behavior. For example, is the heavy library user also a buyer of books and, how does their behavior change when eBooks are made available? Understanding the inter-play between library lending and purchasing should be critical to defining a new or optimal model that allows a full catalog of eBooks to be made available via the public and academic library. Libraries routinely make the point that library patrons contribute significantly to the marketing of all books. Defining this would represent an important improvement in the relationship and understanding between publishers and libraries.

Secondly concerning metadata, as serials publishers transitioned to eContent it became clear quickly that many (most) of them had significantly incomplete metadata about their historic catalog. Libraries helped fill some of those important gaps and thus enabled the publishers to create better, complete and more expensive databases. Book publishers almost certainly have a similar issue and while many of them may not know it yet, monograph collections are likely to look more like database products in five years than a collection of individual pdfs. In that database environment the publishers are going to want better metadata. In the effort to create better data publishers and librarians might collaborate.

(30)Thirdly the manner and method that characterizes the migration serials publishers made from print to database products should be instructive for monograph publishers. Earlier, I suggested - or predicted - monograph databases and here is where the lessons of the serials business could be most important and instructive.

Libraries want to buy books that are read and used, they want books that are cited and referenced and they want books that support the departments that they serve. As serials publishers recognized, better content and increased functionality drives usage and usage drives renewals and is likely to enable rising annual subscription prices. Publishers of monographs think in terms of one time sales but in a database world they need to be thinking of an integrated database of content that draws usage and is licensed annually.

The ISI citation index that measures the ‘importance’ of a serials title is one of the most important metrics in serials acquisition and it is likely that something similar will develop for monographs and/or monograph publishers. Monographs will be graded on their utility to researchers, academics and patrons. Gone is the day that a book will sit unobtrusively on a shelf for years and gone is the day a book “sits” independently of all the other books.

Serials publishers/aggregators provide substantial value-add for the e-titles they provide in comparison with those delivered in the print world and yet product development hasn’t stopped. Recently Elsevier announced a ‘developer platform’ or ‘app store’ that allows third parties to build applications and services around the Elsevier journal content extending the value proposition to all Elsevier customers. These features represent some of the ideas monograph publishers should be considering as they make the transition to eBooks in the library segment.

‘Just-in-case’ purchasing has failed. To assume this model will transfer to eBooks is to ignore fundamentals. While the old monograph purchase model has collapsed there remain indications from ILL data that demand for certain monographs remains high. Even now, ILL data can and should be used by both libraries and publishers to better match demand with supply for print. As print demand spirals downward libraries and publishers should be sharing information to anticipate increases in demand and thus optimize the demand for these popular titles. Perhaps this effort could form the basis of greater cooperation in the larger question of the future of the monograph.

Fourth and last, smart publishers are going to think hard about some of the data about the lifetime cost of books presented in the report by Paul Courant. Publishers will need to copy serials publishers to significantly increase the value proposition of the content. To achieve this goal, publishers may determine that databases provide greater utility supporting deeper linking, citations and enabling annotations than selling titles one by one. A publisher in a position to collect and collate the reader experience - to collect the social ‘exhaust’ in the references, notes, citations, commentary. etc - will be able to build a stronger franchise with the library buyer. Enabling an ability to document the scholars’ interaction with books will serve to reinvent what the monograph represents to library patrons.

(31) Publishers have their work cut out for them assuming they view the library market as one they wish to invest in for the future. Given the long experience of monographs in the library segment their effort is long over due. John Sargent might ask “Is this a good model for us?” but libraries are also asking exactly the same question. (32) Publishers and libraries have an opportunity to build a new model and a better product and libraries are already moving toward their version. Will publishers join them?

(33) Thank you and I’ll take questions.

My thanks to Constance Malpas at OCLC who provided the initial inspiration for this presentation in her presentation to the RLG symposium which I attended in Chicago and later in email discussions between the two of us as I was putting my presentation together. Her influence is especially represented in the last section of this presentation.

Monday, June 27, 2011

PEW Research suggests surge in e-Reader purchases

A new research report from PEW suggests that e-Reader growth has surged since late last year (PEW):

The share of adults in the United States who own an e-book reader doubled to 12% in May, 2011 from 6% in November 2010. E-readers, such as a Kindle or Nook, are portable devices designed to allow readers to download and read books and periodicals. This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began measuring e-reader use in April 2009 that ownership of this device has reached double digits among U.S. adults.

Tablet computers—portable devices similar to e-readers but designed for more interactive web functions—have not seen the same level of growth in recent months. In May 2011, 8% of adults report owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom. This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents just a 3 percentage-point increase in ownership since November 2010. Prior to that, tablet ownership had been climbing relatively quickly.

Growth over time

Download the full report.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

MediaWeek (V4, N26): Books In Print, Journal Publishing, Joyce, Education and Technology, Area 51 and more.

Sam Andersen in the NY Times is stopped cold by an actual book (NYT):

The book was the The World Almanac and Book of Facts, an iconic yellow slab of lists and stats and graphs that has been, for the last century or so, holy scripture to the culture’s various ministers of information: journalists, writers of elementary-school reports, know-it-all uncles, “Jeopardy!” contestants. It promises to deliver, at the speed of print, all the world’s most important facts: the state bird of Oklahoma (the scissor-tailed flycatcher); the year Euripides was born (484 B.C.); the phone number for Gamblers Anonymous (213-386-8789); the major industries of Guyana (bauxite, sugar, rice milling, timber, textiles, gold mining). It is, in other words, basically the analog Internet — the Ghost of Search Engines Past.

Over the last decade, the almanac has been superseded, thoroughly, on just about every front. I’d assumed it had died, years ago, in the mass extinction that brought down (or mortally wounded) all of its informational cousins: the encyclopedia, the phone book, the printed dictionary, the classified ad, the paper road map and even the bookstore itself.

In this day and age, with the almost limitless ability to publish additional and related material, some journal publishers continue to cling to antiquated and out of touch editorial polices (NYT):

In March, for instance, Daryl Bem, a psychologist at Cornell University, shocked his colleagues by publishing a paper in a leading scientific journal, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, in which he presented the results of experiments showing, he claimed, that people’s minds could be influenced by events in the future, as if they were clairvoyant. Three teams of scientists promptly tried to replicate his results. All three teams failed. All three teams wrote up their results and submitted them to The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

And all three teams were rejected — but not because their results were flawed. As the journal’s editor, Eliot Smith, explained to The Psychologist, a British publication, the journal has a longstanding policy of not publishing replication studies. “This policy is not new and is not unique to this journal,” he said.

As a result, the original study stands.

From Intelligent Life, Frank Delaney is trying to decipher James Joyce (IL):

Delaney—an Irish broadcaster and author based in New York—admits that as a young man he found "Ulysses" unreadable. But as the centenary of Joyce’s birth approached in 1982, he felt increasingly embarrassed by his failure to get through it. "I began to read it aloud, and it started to make sense—because it’s not a novel, it’s a prose poem." He went on to write a bestselling book about Joyce’s Dublin, after which Joyce became "a resident guest in my mind". He has now read "Ulysses" six times.

With his rich Irish intonation and palpable enthusiasm, he makes an ideal guide. The book, he declares, is one of the pleasures of life: "a vast, entertaining, funny, absorbing, exciting, complex, immensely enjoyable novel. A book to get lost in." It is also a book to listen to: "Joyce was a singer—he had a beautiful tenor voice—so he understood writing for the ear. In 'Ulysses' you can hear how he slips from one thought to another, which is fascinating."

From Inside Higher Ed a look at why educational publishers and small EdTech companies need each other (IHE):

In the next 2 years we will see an acceleration of investments and purchases in the edtech startup and edtech small company (revenues <=$20 million a year) space by the likes of Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Cengage.

Unsubstantiated dross: Why do publishers keep publishing this stuff. A review of Area 51 and I saw did see the interview on John Stewart and he seemed genuinely taken with the book (or maybe he's crazy) New Statesman:

But I speak too soon. It was all going so well, right up until page 370, when we are told that that the aircraft which is supposed to have crashed in Roswell was - get this! - a Nazi flying saucer sent over by the Soviets to create a mass panic of alien invasion. But, wait! There's more. The pilots were in fact "biologically and/or surgically reengineered children" produced on the orders of Joseph Stalin by none other than - ta dah! - Joseph Mengele.

Ms Jacobsen is adamant that the source for her tall story is completely reliable. "This," she told CBS News, "is information that came to me from the source, who I absolutely believe (and) stand by. I've spoken with him since the book has been published...and what he said was that the child-sized aviators had been the byproduct of this horrific human experimentation program by Stalin, in collaboration with the doctor from Auschwitz, Dr. Joseph Mengele."

In the Observer Robert McCrum thinks there's no reason print and e can't happily coexist (Observer):

The brilliant simplicity of the book should be the equal of the latest technology. Reading a book on a screen is like enjoying wine intravenously. The book remains an aesthetic as well as a literary experience. Owning printed books may soon become synonymous with collecting them.

Richard Charkin, director of Bloomsbury, sees digitisation as an opportunity. "The publisher chooses the book and turns it into something better, publicises it, markets it, and collects the money. What happens in a digital world is identical to that. I am more optimistic about the future than I can express."

Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of The Tipping Point, is possibly a bellwether. What's his next project? Gladwell is working with his publisher to produce his oeuvre in a high-priced box set. "There's a market for Porsche and BMW or Toyota and Fiat," he says, "but not much in between. So it's Prada or H&M, ebooks or hardbacks. The book is alive and well, just a tad more exclusive. Perhaps it's the next big thing."

A Federal Judge takes issue with the proposed settlement of a case brought against West Publishing and Kaplan over test prep materials for the LSAT and calls the coupon idea "laughable". (Law):

A federal judge refused to sign off on a second settlement in the BAR/BRI antitrust litigation after objectors raised concerns that Kaplan Inc.'s portion of the deal involved coupons.

The deal would have settled claims by class members alleging that Kaplan and West Publishing Corp. conspired to monopolize the market for bar review courses. West Publishing owns BAR/BRI and Kaplan sells preparatory courses for the Law School Admission Test. Under the settlement, West would have paid $5.29 million in cash and Kaplan would have provided coupons worth $150 each toward the purchase of future course materials.

Darwin's notes and marginalia go on line and will be available to scholars to understand how (or if) he came up with the Origin of the Species (Daily Mail - not a paper I normally read mind you).

Darwin had 1,480 books in his library, of which 730 contain a wealth of scrawled notes, providing clues to his thoughts as he wrote On The Origin Of Species.
For example, his friend Charles Lyell wrote in his famous Principles Of Geology that there were definite limits to the variation of species.Darwin wrote alongside this: 'If this were true adios theory.'

Academics hope the digitisation project will allow everyone to retrace how Darwin used reading to advance science.

Anne Jarvis, librarian at Cambridge University, where most of the collection is held, said: 'The Darwin collections are among the most important and popular held within Cambridge University library.

'While there has been much focus on his manuscripts and correspondence, his library hasn't always received the attention it deserves - for it is as he engaged with the ideas and theories of others that his own thinking evolved.'
EBSCO Publishing and Elsevier Reach Agreement to Provide Full-Text Searching of All SciVerse ScienceDirect Journals & eBooks for EBSCO Discovery Service™ Customers (PRWeb):
Full text from SciVerse ScienceDirect is being added to EBSCO Discovery Service™ (EDS) thanks to a new agreement from Elsevier and EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO). ScienceDirect, part of the SciVerse suite of search and discovery products provided by Elsevier, is a leading full-text scientific database with journal articles and book chapters from more than 2,000 peer-reviewed journals and 20,000 books and major reference works. ScienceDirect currently includes more than 10.5 million articles and chapters with nearly 500,000 added every year.

Elsevier joins a growing list of publishers and other content partners that are taking part in EDS to bring more visibility to their content. Partners include the world’s largest scholarly journal & book publishers including Elsevier, Wiley Blackwell, Springer Science & Business Media, Taylor & Francis Informa, Sage Publications, and thousands of others. Partners also include content providers, such as LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters (Web of Science), JSTOR, ARTstor, Credo Reference, Oxford University Press, World Book, ABC-CLIO, and many others.
From the twitter this week:

Baker & Taylor and Barnes & Noble Partner to Build Library Access

Apax’s Cengage Buying National Geographic’s School Publisher -

Amazon reprints Ed McBain: Random House relaunches Loveswept:

What Big Media Can Learn From the New York Public Library -

In sports: Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s Legacy Fades (NYT)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Gap Between Ka Moa o Pele and Halali'i: Haleakala Crater

The Gap Between Ka Moa o Pele and Halali'i: Haleakala Crater
Another weekly image from the family archive. Click on it to make it larger.
It is almost impossible to describe the sheer extent of the Haleakala Crater that tops off the Hawaiian island of Maui. This image is taken virtually in the center of the crater on one of the hiking trails that course through the moon-like landscape. The trail is described in one of the Park's handouts: Ka Moa o Pele Trail branches from the foot of the Sliding Sands Trail to join the Halemauu Trail across the crater. It is a scenic route between silverswords on Ka Moa o Pele, a red cinder cone. Flowering plants can usually be seen from June to September. Pa Puaa o Pele, Pele's Pig Pen, is the rim of a spatter cone, now buried, in the low pass between Halalii and Ka Moa o Pele.
Close readers will know I lived on Maui for a while but this is taken on a subsequent vacation in 1991. Having said that the image could easily have been shot in 1891. (I’ve just had over 1,000 image of Hawaii scanned so there may be more to come). One of my other images in this series was taken at dawn from the observatory which is at an elevation of 10,000 feet. After hiking down into the crater to this point you will have descended over 2,000 feet. On this day we hiked into the crater from the observatory, then across the crater floor and up the ‘switch-back’ trail to Crater Rim road. At the point the trail meets up with the road the altitude is still about 1,000 feet below the summit and almost six miles from where you probably parked your rental. On this particular hike, we stupidly hiked the road back but on future visits we’ve done what most normal people do and thumb a ride back to the top. A long day but an incredible experience and recommended for any able bodied and hiker.
Map of the crater

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meeting Wenger of Union Square Ventures: Welcome to the Net Natives

Addressing the Hoboken Tech Meetup group Monday night, Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures (USV) provided the 150 attendees with a treatise on what works and why on the internet. Union Square Ventures only invests in companies that operate on the internet and,while that premise sounds simple, he told us that he and his colleagues at USV spend a lot of time thinking about what is different about the internet and what works and doesn’t. His comments to the group were interspersed with specific cases and he called on the example of the newspaper industry initially to expand on his first point by reflecting on the example of Craigslist and a company named AdOne. He noted, that while many investors made some money from AdOne, the company ultimately disappeared because it merely transferred an old legacy model to the web. Not so, in the case of Craigslist, which is a company that ‘broke the model’ and (as we know) provided a marketplace and network based on free provision of content (classifieds).

As Wenger stated, “Craig Newmark didn’t necessarily know what the impact of his business would be, but what he did know was that what he was doing was not dependent on anyone or any other business. He didn’t need to ask permission and he didn’t need to license information, he could just do it. Maybe by luck he backed into the ‘native model of the internet,’ which is largely exemplified by free services.” This ‘native model’ concept became a theme of Wenger’s comments for the rest of the presentation, and he stressed that USV tries to council entrepreneurs to make sure that their proposed business model represents (as he says) “what the internet wants to do.” Sometimes this isn't obvious as in the case of job listing sites like and

As a subset of the classified market, both these companies made their investors rich and continue to be real businesses in that they have considerable revenues and profits. USV is an investor in, which is also a job listing service but ‘net native’ in contrast. Wenger expanded by suggesting that the problem is no longer getting your job listed (where the listee pays for the listing), now the problem is having the job found. provides aggregated lists of jobs available but, in a similar manner to Google, the company also matches jobs with key words and provides a better service to users in the process. This is how people use the internet: In a vertical search environment, key words can be bought to draw attention to position listing. This model, Wenger suggests, is much closer to a ‘net native business model’ which ‘doesn’t fight the web’ and where users are not asked to pay for something they can easily get for free elsewhere.

The partners at USV try to get entrepreneurs to think about how their business models ‘allow them to swim with the internet’ and build businesses that enable them to charge for services that add value, rather than charge for features as an auto dealer might by adding or deleting new car features to compute a price. Market leadership becomes a function of which company can build the best network. He also suggested that LinkedIN doesn’t have a great feature set, but has built such a dominant network that they will be very difficult to displace in the near future. The interconnectedness of all the participants on LinkedIN is the glue, and therefore, the value that holds the site together.

Sites like LinkedIN have developed business models that leverage the benefits of being part of the network and, thus, set a price for something that will have immediate and/or obvious value for the user. This is where – especially in the business-to-business segment - USV sees real opportunities. Coincidentally, at the meeting, several of the companies that presented (Sonar SquidJob BeanSprout) earlier in the evening are building their revenue models around the development of coherent, organized networks and not attempting to charge for access or services that are free elsewhere.

The catch phrase ‘net native business model’ is a great way to capture the concepts around some of the most successful internet start-ups: Think Twitter and 4Square, both of which are USV companies. Thinking in the terms Wenger suggests provides a framework for close examination of any new business idea and might save some good ideas from failure or lead to radically different approaches to a business idea.

In the question period, Albert was asked why it has been so hard to find networks in education and government and his response was both observant and depressing at the same time. He said,

“Selling to existing institutions is difficult because institutions generally select from companies that are good at selling. Because it is the administrators that are making the decisions based on processes and procedures. Companies which have great products or services, which would be appealing more to teachers and students, don’t have access. That’s how you end up with companies like Blackboard, which is a large, publicly traded company, very embedded but an awful product. But we are encouraged in that we are seeing some companies with innovation catering to products and service and these are getting adopted. Putting products into the market that are free and one we have invested in is Edmodo a network-based product that allows students and teachers in k-12 to work together”.

My impression of the Blackboard comment had more to do with what was possible in a net native world than a simple of-the-cuff denunciation of the Blackboard platform. With respect to government, he sees the same ‘broken procurement’ process based more on the process and mechanics of selling rather than on the benefits of particular products.

Naturally, I found these last comments very interesting based on my bias and experience in publishing and I would hasten to guess that government and education have been areas that USV have or continue to look at for opportunities. What would the completely disruptive “net native business model’ look like for education? Any ideas out there?Link

Monday, June 20, 2011

Amplified Version of Kerouac's On The Road

Penguin releases "amplified iPad version" of Kerouac's On The Road (Apple Store) and the title is covered by the NY Times Paper Cuts blog:
The “amplified edition” of “On the Road,” released today by Penguin Classics, certainly comes tricked out with more fancy bells and whistles than a BMW M5. It includes the full text of the novel, of course, with expandable marginal notes giving historical and biographical background. An interactive map traces Kerouac’s three real-life cross-country road trips, with links to relevant passages from the novel. There are never-before-seen photos, rare audio clips of Kerouac reading from an early draft, previously unreleased documents from his publisher’s archive, and a slide show of international covers showing how the book has been marketed from Argentina to Ukraine to China.
The app’s collection of documents from the archives of Viking, which published the original hardcover, gives insight into the intense corporate efforts to market this most freewheeling of American novels — which surely holds lessons for those selling souped-up e-books today. Here, you find an exchange of letters between Kerouac and his editor, Malcolm Cowley, about how to deal with obscenity issues, as well as a facsimile of a previously unreleased internal memorandum saying the book had great fascination and sales potential despite not being “a great or even a likeable book.” (That last part was penciled out.) There’s also Kerouac’s own sketch for an “appealing commercial cover,” showing all the cities visited in the novel cheek by jowl along a single straight road, under the heading “A Modern Prose Novel by John Kerouac.”

British Library Signs with Google to Digitize 250,000 Books

At a press conference in London this morning Dame Lynne Brindley, the chief executive of The British Library announced a strategic partnership with Google which will lead to the digitization and indexing of 250,000 out of copy right titles in the collection.

The titles will span the period 1700-1870 and thus will include many well known titles but it is likely the unique materials which will be made available digitally will be most interesting. As with similar deals with other "Google Libraries", the deal is not a financial one and Google will cover all the costs of the digitization and provide a copy to the BL and keep one for itself.

More from their press release:
This project will digitise a huge range of printed books, pamphlets and periodicals dated 1700 to 1870, the period that saw the French and Industrial Revolutions, The Battle of Trafalgar and the Crimean War, the invention of rail travel and of the telegraph, the beginning of UK income tax, and the end of slavery. It will include material in a variety of major European languages, and will focus on books that are not yet freely available in digital form online.

The first works to be digitised will range from feminist pamphlets about Queen Marie-Antoinette (1791), to the invention of the first combustion engine-driven submarine (1858), and an account of a stuffed Hippopotamus owned by the Prince of Orange (1775).

Once digitised, these unique items will be available for full text search, download and reading through Google Books, as well as being searchable through the Library’s website and stored in perpetuity within the Library’s digital archive.

Researchers, students and other users of the Library will be able to view historical items from anywhere in the world as well as copy, share and manipulate text for non-commercial purposes.

Dame Lynne Brindley, Chief Executive of the British Library said: “In the nineteenth century it was an ambition of our predecessors to give everybody access to as much of the world’s information as possible, to ensure that knowledge was not restricted to those who could afford private libraries. The way of doing it then was to buy books from the entire world and to make them available in Reading Rooms.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Arrowing in on Orphans: A Beyond the Book Interview

CCC's Beyond the Book takes a look at ARROW - Accessible Registries of Rights Information and Orphan Works which is an initiative to help libraries with the identification of rights status and rightsholders in digital library programs. ARROW is indirectly is a tool for the identification of so-called “orphan works.” From the website announcement:
ARROW’s coordinator is Piero Attanasio, Head of International Projects, the Italian Publishers Association (AIE). He explained to CCC’s Chris Kenneally how the project meets one objective while approaching a solution for another. “ARROW was considered since the beginning to save the parents, not to identify the orphans,” he said. “That means to reconnect the works to the parents, that are the authors and the publishers.”

The dilemma of orphan works haunts rightsholders and users worldwide, particularly at this moment of mass digitization by libraries and others. “Whether the motivation was pure preservation of materials that were going to decline in quality over a period of time, or whether the motivation was simply to make wider and wider access over a network environment,” Michael Healy, Executive Director, The Book Rights Registry, noted, “you immediately encounter the constraints of the existing legislative and legal regimes. And those two things are not working in harmony anywhere right now.”

The audio interview is located here.Link