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Above the Fold

A weekly newsletter for the changing world of libraries, archives and museums

April 25, 2011
Vol. 4, No. 16
ISSN: 1943-1457

In this issue:


Soft Values, Hard Facts  (External site)

Think Quarterly   •  Issue No. 1

Collective intuition. This interview of self-confessed data freak Peter Kruse offers insight into the complexities of market research and behavioral analysis. Read on for a description of Kruse's techniques, which go way beyond focus groups and questionnaires.

I love the tagline—soft values, hard facts. As intriguing as the technique and approach that tries to reconcile qualitative and quantitative measure is the serendipity of being led to Think Quarterly—a Google UK publication. And in that first issue being led to Simon Rogers' 10 best places to see "sexy" data online. ( Michalko)


Spotify for Books  (External site)

FutureBook   •  April 6, 2011

Book-streams. The way people consume content is changing, and editor Timo Boezeman says music streaming sites like Spotify are well-positioned to take over eBook distribution. Check out his suggestions on yet another alternative for an eBook business model.

The Spotify reference may mystify US readers. That music service isn't yet available in the States but it is coming. However, if you're familiar with Pandora, Rhapsody or iHeartRadio; you've got the idea. A huge catalog of music available to you with the added value of smart recommendations, crowd effects from the large user base and the ability to create a private collection within the larger catalog. All for a monthly fee. Will it work for books? I think so. There are already a lot of folks who have been weaned from thinking that a collection must be owned—the set of choices that goes into creating a collection is the important investment and asset. Consider how much more important my Netflix queue is to me than actually owning the films. ( Michalko)


Music Industry Will Force Licenses on Amazon Cloud Player—or Else  (External site)

Wired   •  April 2, 2011

Locker lockdown? The music industry is complaining that Amazon's new Cloud Player service, which provides digital lockers for members' MP3 files, violates copyright law, but MP3tunes CEO Michael Robertson says, "The word 'streaming' and the word 'download' are nowhere in copyright law." Meanwhile, journalist Jacqui Cheng notes that "as long as media companies think of file lockers as piracy devices, they will be at war with them." With cloud computing gaining popularity, a legal battle over licensing could produce a lose-lose situation.

The saga of the Amazon Cloud Player is just the latest in a long line of skirmishes and battles that have been going on since the late 1990s to arrive at a new definition of "ownership" in a digital age. Remember my.mp3.com?  How sensible everyone thought it was except for the judge? ( Michalko)


The Public Broadcasting Model for eBooks  (External site)

Go to Hellman   •  April 6, 2011

Stay tuned. Eric Hellman points out the similarities between eBook and radio programming distribution, and suggests publishers consider a business plan modeled on the public broadcasting system, with readers voluntarily contributing funds for books and authors they choose to support. Hellman is pioneering the "bookcasting" concept through his Gluejar project;—read his post for more on the idea.

So the articles above establish that the subscription model is on its way for music and might be suitable for books. Eric Hellman is thinking that public broadcasting is a possible new model for supporting the publication and maintenance of new books. Maybe. The analogy doesn't fully fit. I actually support my local public radio station during the annoying but necessary pledge drive. If I had to support each program separately it would be too much and I'd free ride. ( Michalko)


The Globe and Mail: "Mike Shatzkin in Montreal: Libraries Don't Make Sense Anymore"  (External site)

InfoDocket   •  April 7, 2011

Counterpoint. ResourceShelf founder Gary Price takes issue with Mike Shatzkin's recent comment; in the Globe and Mail that "libraries make no sense in the future." Read Price's rebuttal in the ongoing debate over libraries, librarians and how to maintain relevance in the 21st century.

I suppose everybody has read reports of the Shatzkin presentation or seen articles referring to it. In this case, our friend, Gary Price the ubiquitous library and information blogger, provides an apologia for libraries in reaction to Shatzkin. I think some of his pushbacks to Shatzkin are pretty weak but, lucky for us, Gary will be joining our staff meeting for discussions this week. If we talk about this I'll be sure to weave it into a future ATF. ( Michalko)


Above the Fold Quiz:

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what are some strategies for providing efficient and economical delivery of digital copies of materials in special collections?

Click here to find the answer.


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Above the Fold is a Web-based newsletter published by OCLC Research. It has been developed to serve a broad international readership from libraries, archives and museums. News items are supplied weekly under contract by Suzanne Douglas, Ibis Communications Inc. Research items are supplied by staff in OCLC Research. Please send comments and questions about this or other issues to rlg@oclc.org.
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