Copyright in the real world

Cory Doctorow (the well known author, blogger, co-editor of Boing-Boing, copyright crusader) recently gave a speech at the National Reading Summit on reading and the way that copyright is currently working (or not, depending on your viewpoint).

You can find the first part of Cory’s speech entitled “How to destroy the book” here and, when you’re done, do yourself a favour and read the second part as well.

Trove

Trove is the National Library’s latest ‘discovery experience’ or catalogue or search engine to various Library collections. It moved from beta to production last week and is designed to be the single user interface for Library users.

Trove brings together all the Library’s collections and a whole other suite of online resources. For information on it go to http://trove/general/about

Trove allows, nay encourages, user participation in tagging and commenting on works. See the below image for how many people have been using the Trove system (as of 11am 9 Dec.)

screenshot of Trove search interface
Most of the comments relate to the text corrections to Australian newspapers which have been a phenomenal success (see http://www.nla.gov.au/pub/gateways/issues/102/story06.html)

But looking through them, there are a number of other public additions by comment or tag that enhance our catalogue records.  Subject headings as we know are pre-coordinate in that a structured set of subject headings is used when cataloguing (LCSH with Australian extensions) however tags (which are in effect subject headings) applied and hopefully used by users, are not structured (post-coordinate) . It will be interesting to see once a large number of tags are in place, which prove more useful. A good paper on post vs. pre coordinate headings is at: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/pre_vs_post.pdf

All areas of the Library have received greater amounts of user feedback on the Library’s catalogue records as the catalogue has lately been exposed to search engines (leading to much greater usage) , with Trove this user interaction will no doubt increase as easy access is given to users to notify us of errors or omissions. It makes more work for us all, but improving the integrity of our data is incredibly worthwhile.

Waving not drowning

So, a few of us have been having a play with Google’s latest toy, Google Wave. We’re wondering how it might shake things up in the library world. Once it’s released from it’s initial test phase (which, apparently, has already grown to include 1 million users!), it looks like it will be able to offer an environment that facilitates virtual collaboration for libraries and their community of users though instant messaging, email and the ability to share links and files. Libraries are already involved in undertaking similar initiatives such as AskNow which is hosted by the National Library of Australia.

There are a few interesting applications already out there which could be useful for this kind of collaboration, such as bots which allow you to search Amazon, search for ISBNs to retrieve cover art (though this is currently limited to O’Reilly titles) and even Igor, a citation bot. You can watch Igor in action here (though there’s no sound).

Interested and want to get a piece of the action? You can sign up for a Google Wave invite here or, failing that, beg one of your hip techy friends for an invite ;-)

But the big question is, will the Wave dance will catch on?

Christmas at the Library

Some Library staff have been getting very excited about the festive season, and thus are decking out their desks with Christmas cheer.  Below is one staff member’s desk who likes to share most in the Christmas spirit. 

We will put up more photos as the holiday season starts in earnest this week with multiple staff parties.