When I graduated from high school, my grandparents gave me a big dictionary and thesaurus. They got me through college splendidly; I still have them – but I keep them for sentimental reasons. In fact, I haven’t bought a new dictionary in 20 years.
Lately I’ve taken to using The Free Dictionary - which has a thesaurus and links to several encyclopedias. It’s never let me down – and I do put some pretty heavy demands on a dictionary, as a crossword freak.
So I wasn’t surprised to see this article about the demise of the print dictionary, particularly this quote:
In the past four years, sales of English-language usage guides and dictionaries have plummeted by 40%, while other reference books, including maps, atlases and encyclopedias, have also shown a significant decline, according to research by Book Marketing Limited. Some publishers have even predicted that dictionary sales could cease completely.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 8:10 am, Comments (0)
Swets Information Services has added MuseGlobal’s Content Mining functionality to its federated search tool – SwetsWise Searcher. Content Mining allows SwetsWise to rank search results so that users get the most relevant results first. According to LibraryJournal, "This allows users to combine terms and refine their search for deeper digging." LJ has more here.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:56 am, Comments (0)
The more I read about Google, Microsoft, Apple, the DMCA, etc. the more it strikes me as important to note… that DRM and copyright are not the same thing. DRM is a way of managing copyright on digital products. Advocating a better way of managing copyright (and preventing piracy) is different from advocating the abolishment of copyright. They’re related, but not identical.
Check my newsletter next Tuesday for more – I’ll be pontificating about this in The Download.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:42 am, Comments (1)
Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA, has joined Sonny Bono at St. Peter’s Gate – will the DMCA follow behind? David Rothman has a squib
on his Teleread blog that made me smile: "Jack Valenti Departs for Eternity: Will Copyrights Someday Last That Long?"
His successor at MPAA, Dan Glickman, spoke at LexisNexis’s DRM conference over the weekend about "rippable" DVDs and the movie industry’s take on those – Ars Technica has the scoop:
MPAA boss Dan Glickman said the movie studios were now fully committed to interoperable DRM, and they recognize that consumers should be able to use legitimate video material on any item in the house, including home networks. In a major shift for the industry, Glickman also announced a plan to let consumers rip DVDs for use on home media servers and iPods.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:32 am, Comments (0)
…the run-up to BEA. I’m scouring the web and my email alerts these days looking for news, and it’s scarce. Are you guys all holding back announcements till BEA? Leaving folks like me to twist in the wind – I may be forced to opine, God help us, just to stay in business.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:22 am, Comments (0)
Overdrive announced yesterday that it has acquired the rights to distribute the blues catalog of Alligator Records to libraries via their Digital Library Reserve download system.
Libraries in OverDrive’s network will soon have access to music from Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, and other top blues artists available through the Alligator Records label. The collection will add a large, quality list of blues music titles to OverDrive’s digital library of more than 100,000 video, music, eBook, and audio book titles– the only collected works that library patrons can browse, download and view, or listen to all on a single system.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:01 am, Comments (0)
The ALA reports that the European Union has created a resolution to the problem raised by Google’s digitizing "orphan" and out-of-print titles – books whose copyright holder is not immediately apparent.
The group recommended that digital copies of orphan works—for whom no copyright holder can be identified—be made available for noncommercial purposes after a thorough search for copyright holders is completed, according to a European Commission press release.
For materials that are out of print but still under copyright, the group proposed that libraries be granted a license that bestows nonexclusive and nontransferable rights to digitize and make their holdings available to users on a closed network of other European libraries, museums, and archives.
This seems like a great solution that the US could adopt. But copyright is so aggressively guarded here (to wit: DMCA), it may be some time before publishers see the benefits in providing the text for search.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 8:44 am, Comments (0)
Rumor (or should we say rumour) has it that Amazon’s launching a digital music service. The London Times reports
Amazon confirmed yesterday that it was looking closely at the MP3 market. It is expected that its service, which could launch as early as next month, will differ from its rival by selling music without anti-piracy measures.
No word on which labels, besides most likely EMI, will participate in the DRM-less store.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:46 am, Comments (0)
Amazon posted a huge increase in revenue this last quarter over the same period last year - 33%! – and Google did similarly – 63%! I have to confess when I saw Google’s numbers last week, I did a double-take.
For those of us in the books and technology space, this is certainly good news in the aggregate. It occurred to me last night that we seem to have reached the infamous "tipping point" – text is not getting any less digital. And while certainly the ever-growing pile of books-I-have-to-read on my coffee table is a testament to the usefulness and value of print, the technologies behind creating those print books, distributing them, finding out about them, selling them – this is all digital.
Ebooks themselves will find their place in the natural stream of 0s and 1s, just as downloadable music and video are – first with textbooks and then with other sorts of titles; the usual combination of expense and accessibility has already started to work in the textbook sector. That stream of bytes is not getting any smaller. It will only get inexorably bigger.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:31 am, Comments (0)
Word on the street is that Amazon’s finally going to launch their Kindle this spring for around $400.
It can’t do worse than the Sony Reader.
Again, I’m struck by the sheer ugliness of its design. But maybe there’s a reason for that ugliness? Any design people want to weigh in here? To me it looks like we time-traveled to 1982. And not in a hip, ironic way.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:58 am, Comments (0)