American Libraries Direct
April 29, 2009.
OCLC challenges ILS vendors
In what clearly represents a challenge to the integrated library system industry, OCLC announced April 23 that it has created what it calls “the first web-scale cooperative library management service,” inviting member libraries to “take the first step to realizing this cooperative service model with a new, ‘quick start’ version of the OCLC WorldCat Local service.” The service expands WorldCat Local’s cataloging and discovery tools to include functions now performed in most libraries by a locally installed integrated library system. Andrew Pace, OCLC’s executive director for networked library services, explains why this service is a “sea change” in this exclusive interview....
American Libraries Online, Apr. 24
Groups submit comments in favor of access
ALA, ACRL, and the Association for Research Libraries jointly submitted comments (PDF file) to the U.S. Copyright Office April 28 on the topic of facilitating access to copyrighted works for the blind or persons with other disabilities. The associations believe they should be afforded the same access to materials as sighted persons. Currently, only about 5% of published books are available in accessible formats for the visually impaired. Some materials are not available at all, particularly scholarly journals, research materials, professional resources, and local history materials....
District Dispatch, Apr. 28
Congress supports National Library Week
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H. Res. 336, a resolution in support of National Library Week, April 22. During the floor debate, Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), and Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) made statements highlighting the significant role libraries and librarians serve in communities across the country....
District Dispatch, Apr. 23
Antitrust inquiry into Google Books settlement
The Justice Department has begun an inquiry into the antitrust implications of Google’s settlement with authors and publishers over its Google Book Search service. Federal lawyers in recent weeks have been talking to groups opposed to the settlement, including the Internet Archive and Consumer Watchdog. More recently, Google and the Association of American Publishers were both notified that the feds were looking into antitrust issues. Meanwhile, Judge Denny Chin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has granted authors worldwide until September 4 to decide whether to join the settlement or opt out....
New York Times, Apr. 28; Cnet Digital Media, Apr. 28
New Yorkers want the Donnell branch back
A group of library users and residents of Midtown Manhattan are fuming over what they are calling the inept and heartless handling of New York Public Library’s Donnell branch, which was known for its rich holdings of movies, music, foreign language materials, and children’s books until it closed in August 2008. Opened in 1955, the branch was closed as part of a decision to sell the building to Orient-Express Hotels for $59 million. But the deal fell apart in March with the hotel company backing out, citing the financial and credit crises....
New York Times, Apr. 23
GE unveils holographic disc breakthrough
Scientists at GE’s Global Research Center in upstate New York announced a breakthrough in the pursuit of holographic data storage. They have successfully demonstrated technology that can put 500 gigabytes onto a single DVD-sized disc. The process works by imprinting chemical changes in the form of patterns (holograms) within the disc. Those holograms are then read by lasers, similar to the ones in Blu-ray players. At 500GB, these holographic discs could offer 20 times the capacity of a single-layer Blu-ray disc. Watch the video (1:52)....
GE Reports, Apr. 27
U.S. News & World Report’s LIS rankings
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill library schools are tied for first place in U.S. News & World Report’s 2009 rankings. The rankings are based solely on the results of a fall 2008 survey sent to the dean of each program, the program director, and a senior faculty member in each program. The questionnaires asked individuals to rate the academic quality of programs at each institution as outstanding (5), strong (4), good (3), adequate (2), or marginal (1). Rankings are also given for seven LIS specialty programs....
U.S. News & World Report, Apr. 22