Here are two podcasts from the DPLA meeting in Amsterdam this week. Jonathan Rothman of the HathiTrust and Paola Mazzucchi of Arrow talk about their projects for identifying the copyright holders of “orphaned works,” i.e., works that are in copyright whose copyright holders are not known and/or findable.
There’s a lot of talk about what the future of publishing looks like. Designers and innovators draw up these artistic visualizations of tablets, touchscreens, and interactive multimedia literature mashups to illustrate the possibilities.
But one designer is thinking a lot more about what is lost in the transition from the physical book to the digital. In fact, his visualizations often flip the script by placing digital literature in the physical context.
James Bridle is an editor, publisher, designer, and innovator. One of his most recent projects was a physical production of the complete changelogs from the Wikipedia entry on the Iraq War. The project amounted to twelve volumes of almost 7,000 pages, including all the changes, discussions, and arguments logged in the process of producing the never-complete Wikipedia article from December 2004 to November 2009.
He’s created a number of other projects to highlight the impermanence of the web and provoke conversation on the e-book, both the efficiencies and deficiencies thereof. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab’s very own David Weinberger spoke with James by Skype about his work for the first ever episode of Library Lab/The Podcast.
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Mathew Ingram at Gigaom reports on one of the catches in Amazon’s plan to allow libraries to lend e-books on the Kindle: Who owns the books? Since preserving our heritage is one of the key value of our libraries but not of Amazon, there are troubling consequences of turning libraries into distribution sites for corporate content.
I have heard a well-known Internet librarian (I’m keeping her/his name confidential because I didn’t ask if I’m allowed to repeat and attribute this idea, although I’m 99% certain this person wouldn’t mind) suggest that the way forward is for libraries to push to be allowed to buy e-books. But apparently buying and owning stuff is a crazy idea in the Age of the LicenseWeb.
The Association for Learning Technology has published a detailed and highly practical guide, based on its own experience, for journals moving toward an Open Access model. Indeed, the guide is of even broader utility than that, since it considers the practicalities of moving from an existing contract with publishers for any reason.
OCLC has posted a page that lets you drill down by geographic area to see stats about libraries. For example, Massachusetts has 3,181 librarians (1,440 of which are in academic libraries) and 81,877,061 volumes in libraries. (Hat tip to Infodocket.)
Pinakes is a non-commercial tool the aim of which is to offer a renewed historiographic approach to the classification of the scientific heritage. Thanks to the integration of different types of objects, such as instruments, manuscripts, texts, iconography etc. Pinakes aims at transforming the traditional approach to the primary sources of the history of science into a sort of archeology of scientific knowledge. In order to achieve this ambitious project it was necessary to design a model of data-base, Pinakes, able to bring different classes of objects and items into one environment.
Pinakes has been thought as a database capable of hosting different levels of data structuring. On the basis of the choiche of the target, the user might be able to manage data form a very specific level to a more general description of the items
Jean-Claude Bradley at Useful Chemistry has announced (well, a few weeks ago) that the international chemical company Alfa Aesar has agreed to open source its melting point data. This is important not just because Alfa Aesar is one of the most important sources of that information. It also provides a model that could work outside of chemistry and science.
The data will be useful to the Open Notebook Science solubility project, and because Alfa has agreed to Open Data access, it can be useful far beyond that. In return, the Open Notebook folks cleaned up Alfa’s data, putting it into a clean database format, providing unique IDs (ChemSpiderIDs), and linking back to the Alfa Aesar catalog page.
Open Notebook then merged the cleaned-up data set with several others. The result was a set of 13,436 Open Data melting point values.