Tuesday, January 18, 2011

E-books and journalism

1) Meredith Farkas of Information wants to be Free has a lengthy but apt/pointed post about E-Books and some issues related to them.
My favorite bit and my biggest beef thus far:
"Those books don’t disappear unless a patron loses them (in which case we usually recoup our costs) or we choose to remove the book from the collection. We can ILL those books, we can put them on reserve, and there are no further costs for that book (unless it requires rebinding) beyond the initial purchase. But take a look at our eBrary collection. We pay lots of money each year for access to tens of thousands of books but we don’t own anything. We cancel our subscription and those books are gone. Books get added and disappear from our eBrary collection depending on their current deals with publishers, meaning that something a student used for their research two months ago may not actually be in our collection when they are looking to cite something from it." (emphasis added)

2)Via Rory Litwin over at Library Juice, came across Michael Bugeja's article which discusses the recent massive changes in the role of journalism.
"Journalism used to focus on what citizens needed to know, whether they liked it or not. Now it focuses on what the audience wants, explaining the spike in celebrity and entertainment news . Social networks and search engines give away that news for free in return for personal information and then vend those data to companies whose cookies are as hidden as terms of service."

There's an interesting connection here between these two thoughts where the potential for access becomes more important than a responsible ownership both of objects and ideas. Is it possible that part of this turn toward(s) celebrity/entertainment news is pushed along by the fact that we are getting more and more used not to owning physical stuff (Netflix being a prime example) (where owning requires a commitment to care and development) that we have proclaimed trust in those who would simply provide access without considering the consequences. We become hung up on our ability to access different platforms (data plans are a good example) and believe that we need these things to function well and by doing so propagate the idea that we need these things to function well. I read something a while back that stated in terms of being a librarian it's more important to know where things are rather than simply being able to find them. I want to be able to lay my brain/hand on the exact section without looking at the catalog if a student asks a general question. I want my students to be able to own their ideas and defend them and while they are allowed to borrow/access others' idea(s) they need to be able to cull and cobble and frankenstein their thinking together so even if their initial creation is awkward and ugly there's at least something to work with. The assumption of access is an assumption of failure.


jb said...

hey - got a kindle for christmas...

it is not only amazing, but also has me reading the new york times cover to cover everyday, and doing other reading an hour a day.

any book recommends?
(particularly modern fiction)

Jeremy McGinniss said...

Nice! The kindle is a nice little reading machine, especially for the paper/pdfs.

The Orange Eats Creeps Grace Krilanovich was off the hook; in every weird way possible.

In an Uncharted Country
Clifford Garstang

Extraordinary Renditions
Andrew Ervin

House of Leaves Mark Z. Danielweski
(Terrifying but good.)

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
David Foster Wallace

If you haven't read Dave Eggers What is the What or A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, are pretty good. He's got a new one out called Zeitoun which I read sections out of and was ok.
I've heard good stuff about Stieg Larsson's trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tatto, Girl who Played with Fire, Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest but haven't actually read any of them.

Discovered David Markson this past year. Wittgenstein's Mistress is a lonely, stretching and sweeping read.

jb said...

I have read everything Dave Eggers has released... I am a particularly big fan of Zeitoun.