Friday, July 25, 2008

Moving on

I moved back to Louisville last week. I loved Ohio U and Athens, but major changes in the Ohio university system (a unified state system, centralized processing) meant that my position was eliminated. Best of luck to all my Ohio friends in the reorganization.

Everything changes. Evolution works.

I'll be job hunting, and teaching again, and looking at outsourcing myself - independent workshops and consulting, grantwriting and preservation, mostly. I'll be spending a lot of time updating my wiki of humanities resources for the class, Humanities for Librarians

Take a look and contribute. Why a wiki? I can use a linkchecker, which I can't on a closed PHP silo. Plus it's a lot more fun for students (I hope).

Look for more when I get a chance to read my email again, and my RSS feed. It's not quite an intelligent agent, but it'll do for now. I'm old enough to LOL when I read text messages - I wonder how many people realize that they are the venerable IRC chat abbreviations c. 1995?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Microsoft's out of this picture

Microsoft has dropped out of the Open Content Alliance. I can't say I'm surprised, and not for the reason you think - since they (or more accurately, Gates) have gotten into philanthropy, they have a real point. Since they focus on global health, their considerable money is probably better spent there. After all, the dead can't read online books (or, the cynic in me says, buy MS products).

But in any case, they were gracious enough to leave their equipment and not lock up their content. Good for them!

What will this mean for the OCA? One less partner, less money, neither of which is good. Will it stop the OCA? I doubt it. There are too many well-endowed partners with too wide a base of support, plus considerable technical knowledge.

Will it ever be a rival to Google? Yes. It does have its niche, as does Project Gutenberg; they appeal to open source fans and people with slow connection rates, and they're serious about access. No silo here.

What is seriously threatened are the silos of online books - NetLibrary and its ilk. While Google may not make all public domain works available and only show snippets of copyrighted works, at least they're findable. What good is full text, if you don't know it's there?

Business models will not be the only thing to change in the next few years, merely the early victims. Libraries are in line, as are publishers. Who else? Who knows? Brave new world!