The wonk factor is only outweighed by the coolness factor here: the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, held in Florence, Italy, has released its proceedings. And what I’m really excited about is the article "The Readability of Scanned Books in Digital Libraries." You can download the whole thing, but here’s the abstract:
Displaying scanned book pages in a web browser is difficult, due to an array of characteristics of the common user’s configuration that compound to yield text that is degraded and illegibly small. For books which contain only text, this can often be solved by using OCR or manual transcription to extract and present the text alone, or by magnifying the page and presenting it in a scrolling panel. Books with rich illustrations, especially children’s picture books, present a greater challenge because their enjoyment is dependent on reading the text in the context of the full page with its illustrations. We have created two novel prototypes for solving this problem by magnifying just the text, without magnifying the entire page. We present the results of a user study of these techniques. Users found our prototypes to be more effective than the dominant interface type for reading this kind of material and, in some cases, even preferable to the physical book itself.
It’s about time someone studied this and measured it!!! I remember last year’s BEA where Cliff Guren was showing some differences in competitors’ scanning efforts (ahem) and Microsoft’s; that was very eye-opening, and made me wonder about kids’ books and all the illustrations. Anyway, cool beans!
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:27 am, Comments (0)
Ingram Digital announced that it’s partnered with the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (and you’ve got to be learned and/or professional to be able to remember that) to create ebooks of the titles of ALPSP’s 260 member publishers. According to the press release quoted at LJ’s InfoTech:
The company said ALPSP members are invited “to contribute titles to an ALPSP-branded range of subject-based eBook collections which will be offered to libraries and other institutions” through its MyiLibrary content distribution partners including Swets. ALPSP members have access to all of Ingram Digital’s digital content solutions, like CoreSource for digital asset management, and member publishers can use Lightning Source Inc. to produce print-on-demand titles as well as enable digital content distribution to all markets and channels.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 2:24 pm, Comments (0)
The Bookseller reports today that France is launching a competitor to Google Book Search.
Of course they are.
Barbara Cassasus writes:
The project, to be unveiled at the [Paris Book] fair, will offer more than 60,000 digitised works from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) and 2,000 from about 50 publishers, some of whom received subsidies for the purpose. The BNF plans to add another 40,000 books imminently, with those copyrighted books supplied by publishers expected to quickly exceed 10,000.
Because why use something already in existence when you can reinvent your very own French wheel?
Posted by Laura Dawson, 2:13 pm, Comments (0)
Via Peter Brantley’s listserv – apparently Google has released an API that allows developers to link directly to a book in the Google Book Search database. The link is a little touchy, but ultimately Google gives an example of their API at the Deschutes Public Library. In the words of the Google blog:
Web developers can use the Books Viewability API to quickly find out a book’s viewability on Google Book Search and, in an automated fashion, embed a link to that book in Google Book Search on their own sites.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 2:10 pm, Comments (0)
My iPod blew on Friday night.
Neither Windows nor iTunes would recognize the damn thing. At first, iTunes was telling me I had a device called "hegsie" that had 1700 gigabytes of space, most of which was taken up by non-audio files. My iPod is very sensibly named "Laura’s iPod", and I don’t know who this ridiculous "hegsie" is coming in and imposing itself on my iTunes.
I rebooted, reinstalled, restored, did all the "R" things. And by Saturday afternoon, "hegsie" had disappeared entirely. But "Laura’s iPod" did not come back.
Because I restored the iPod to its factory settings (following the instructions on the Apple website!), I consequently deleted all the files off it (though they are still on my computer).
So now I have a blank iPod, which my computer will not recognize. I can’t load it with audiobooks and music and videos. My workouts at the gym are…uninspired. That happy place I get to on the elliptical machine? No soundtrack for it anymore.
The iPod is not making the sad face, but I am.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 12:33 pm, Comments (2)
The General Accountability Office has announced that it will stop printing most of its (billions of) reports, issuing them electronically instead. (The Office of Management and Budget announced last week that it would stop printing copies of the federal budget.) However, notes the Federal Times, if Capitol Hill still requires printed reports, the GAO will do custom print jobs.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:12 am, Comments (0)
NISO released the news the other day that its RFID Working Group has finalized best practices for using RFID in libraries. Serving in the group are Brian Green of EDItEUR (and the International ISBN Agency), and Jim Lichtenberg, who runs the New Technologies committee for BISG. According to the press release:
The NISO recommendations for best practices aim to promote procedures that do the following:
- Allow an RFID tag to be installed at the earliest point and used throughout the lifecycle of the book, from publisher/printer to distributor, jobber, library (shelving, circulating, sorting, reshelving, inventory, and theft deterrence), and interlibrary loan, and continuing on to secondary markets such as secondhand books, returned books, and discarded/recycled books.
- Allow for true interoperability among libraries, where a tag in one library can be used seamlessly by another, even if the libraries have different suppliers for tags, hardware, and software.
- Protect the personal privacy of individuals while supporting the functions that allow users to reap the benefits of this technology.
- Permit the extension of these standards and procedures for global interoperability.
- Remain relevant and functional with evolving technologies.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:53 am, Comments (0)
The Chronicle of Higher Ed has an interview with Peter Brantley, executive director of the Digital Library Foundation on the possible settlement that Google is preparing in response to lawsuits from publishers and authors. The Chronicle, unfortunately, requires a subscription for web access. But Peter Suber posts a fair-use excerpt on his website.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:33 am, Comments (0)
The Book Standard reports that OCLC’s NetLibrary division announced that it’s extended its contract with Blackstone Audio to distribute Blackstone titles digitally. Previously, NetLibrary only supplied downloadable audio in a pay-for-purchase model; now it is offering audiobooks as a subscription service for libraries who wish to participate that way:
"Blackstone Audio has enjoyed a successful partnership with NetLibrary as a provider of eAudiobooks for purchase," said Steve King, director of digital sales for Blackstone Audio. "We anticipate continued success with NetLibrary in offering a subscription option to libraries that would prefer the convenience of this model."
Posted by Laura Dawson, 11:18 am, Comments (0)
David Cully, formerly of B&N, has gone over to Baker & Taylor as…well, his title’s far too long so you can go to the press release here. According to this,
Cully’s primary responsibilities include managing all merchandising and purchasing functions, managing BTMS, and managing Baker & Taylor’s new Specialty Markets Group.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 11:35 am, Comments (0)