In a post from last month (http://www.ctwatch.org/blog/archives/digital-monographs), the digitization of books by Google was mentioned. Amazon and Microsoft are both in the picture as well. Bringing information to the masses, especially in the form of published material, is taking on new levels of salience with many web-based businesses (especially the book publishing industry). This article on book digitization revisits the issue. What’s not being mentioned much is the role of the hardware in the effort. E-books aren’t new nor are the technologies created to view them. But e-books have never really caught on, and a big reason is the display technology. Palm, Sony, and Philips Electronics are just three players who have tested the e-book waters, but the display technology still can’t compensate for the high contrast of print, at least not that’s widely portable and affordable. And haptics still hasn’t produced a replacement for people’s comfort with paper.
Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category
Google is back to copying. Set to resume their effort to make books available digitally, google is leveraging their incredible computing infrastructure to expand their digital information delivery. Dubbed Google Print, this new service is currently only targeting publishers and libraries. However, three of the first libraries to offer portions of their collection for copying are high profile academic libraries; Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford. But the rosy plan isn’t without some thorns, specifically opposition from some publishers and even the Authors Guild. Much has already been written about the effort and copyright issues associated with it. But the opposition hasn’t seemed to slow Google down.
This month, the National Bureau of Economic Research–”nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works” and long-time breeding ground of Nobel winners–published a treatise on the United States’ diminishing role in science and engineering research and workforce preparedness. It links these losses to not just the nation’s technological dominance but also its much more general economic leadership and health. Author Richard Freeman is an economics professor at Harvard and a fellow at the London School of Economics.
(Hat tip to Slashdot.)
The latest issue of D-Lib Magazine has an interesting commentary on the future of digital libraries by Clifford Lynch, Executive Director of the Coalition for Networked Information. Tracing the evolution of digital libraries since the 1960s, his article examines some of the more recent accomplishments and concludes with a list of some of the more interesting issues facing digital library research. Digital libraries play an integral role in cyberinfrastructure but are often underemphasized compared to more glamorous components such as supercomputers and fast networks.