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Posts by Tom Peters

Squeezing the E-Turnip

Submitted by Tom Peters on November 18, 2005 - 10:31am

Tom Peters Head Shot

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal reported that Google and an unnamed publisher were having discussions about leasing access to e-books. The general idea is that users would pay approximately ten percent of the list price for the printed book to be able to read the e-book for one week. In other words, they're talking about a pay-per-circ digital lending library.

When it comes to new (and recycled) schemes for pricing e-books, November has been a "Katy-bar-the-door" month. Amazon and Random House announced separate plans to sell e-books in less-than-complete chunks, such as chapters. If we manage to get through the remainder of the month without any more turkey announcements like this, we'll have another cause for thanksgiving. Read More »

Lemony Snippets

Submitted by Tom Peters on November 2, 2005 - 11:38am

Lots of folks are sour on snippets. Google has made lemonade out of the old word "snippet" by using it to describe what will be presented to users when they perform a full-text search in the Google Print Library and retrieve hits for the search term in a work still protected by copyright. Here is Google's brief (and a little vague) description of how this works on the "common questions" page about the Google Print Library Project ( "For library books still in copyright, you'll be able to find the book in your search result, but we will only display bibliographic information and a few short snippets of the book." Read More »

Button, Button, Who Has the Button?

Submitted by Tom Peters on October 31, 2005 - 2:54am

Cell phones, PDAs, MP3 players, and other portable information/communication appliances all have buttons. For most tasks, the dominant way of interacting with these devices involves pressing buttons. The functionality of some buttons has become so multifarious that they seem like joysticks—without the stick and without the joy.

The problem is: most button designs are poor, assuming that easy usability is the principal design goal. Somewhere along the line the device-design community developed the collective wisdom that the purpose of button design is to enhance the overall style—and sales attractiveness—of the device. The result is a bunch of gadgets with buttons that elicit user responses ranging from confusion to open hostility. Read More »

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Makin' Copies and Caching In

Submitted by Tom Peters on October 19, 2005 - 9:34am

Tom Peters Head Shot

I don't know what possessed me to write a blog entry about copyright. Hasn't enough been written about copyright already—even if the future of copyright, fair use, the right of first sale, and intellectual property in general is arguably one of the essential issues currently confronting society and culture?

Here's how it happened. I was walking our dog Max in the pre-dawn darkness. Overhead, the slightly past-full moon was beginning its decline. The warm breeze reminded me that today probably will be the final day this year of summerlike weather in beautiful Blue Springs. Read More »

The Yahouyhnhnms Are Coming

Submitted by Tom Peters on October 7, 2005 - 4:26pm

There are so many organizations involved—ten at the time of the initial press release—in the Open Content Alliance that it's difficult to tell how each organization will be involved. At the very least, Yahoo probably will be a major financial backer and a major (if not the primary) distributor of the content. One way to understand the OCA is as Yahoo's response to the Google Library Project. Read More »

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Fit to Print: What to Do with Printed Books?

Submitted by Tom Peters on October 3, 2005 - 10:50am

Tom Peters Head Shot

Today's announcement of yet another massive digitization project for printed books, the Open Content Alliance involving Yahoo!, the Internet Archive, the University of California, the University of Toronto, U.K. and European Archives, and others, coupled with last week's announcement of an initial preview of the used book market by the Book Industry Study Group, has me wondering: If libraries as a group exhibit markedly accelerated deaccession activities for their printed materials in the next few years (that's a big unknown if), what are they going to do with all those surplus printed copies? Read More »

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Those Litigious Scribes: Authors Sue Google

Submitted by Tom Peters on September 21, 2005 - 8:49am

Tuesday three individual authors, as well as the Authors Guild, which represents approximately 8,000 authors, filed a lawsuit against Google over the library portion of its Google Library Project.

The suit (covered on Boing Boing Tuesday), claiming massive copyright infringement, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by lawyers representing Daniel Hoffman, a poet; Betty Miles, a children’s and YA (young adult) author; and Herbert Mitgang, a Lincoln biographer. Read More »

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Welcome from Tom (the Newbie) Peters

Submitted by Tom Peters on September 20, 2005 - 4:33pm

Tom Peters Head Shot Welcome, Everyone. I'm glad that ALA TechSource has started this blog to highlight trends, issues, and opportunities regarding library and information technology. It's an honor to be blogging with the likes of Jenny Levine, Karen Schneider, and Michael Stephens. As the newbie to blogging, I have the right (and responsibility!) to ask the dumb questions and make the stupid mistakes. Stay tuned.

Although I plan to blog whatever developments seem noteworthy, the areas of IT that currently interest me include: Read More »