Monday, March 24th, 2008

Monday link round-up

I never do it, so perhaps I can be forgiven for a short-form link roundup?

  • We hit twenty-five million books
  • Gizmodo reports on an law-review article on the legal status of books you “buy” for your Kindle or Sony Reader. This has been my problem with these devices—not the loss of paper, but the loss of ownership. I want to be able to sell my books and to pass them onto my children. I want a future with used bookstores, and one where Amazon does not store how many pages I’ve read and which, every page I’ve bookmarked and annotation I’ve added. Apparently the issue is more complicated than it might appear at first blush. If something looks like a sale, courts just might consider it one.
  • The video of Clay Shirky’s Berkman Center talk about his upcoming Here Comes Everybody: The power of organizing without organizations is finally up. Clay has been inspiring me ever since his famous talk Ontology is Overrated. I didn’t make it to the Berkman talk, but Abby and Sonya were there, and very impressed.
  • Library Journal reports that Ask.com is laying off some 40 employees, including its librarian, Gary Price. It looks like Ask is giving up its quixotic effort to become a serious search-engine contender. (I’m still rooting for Gigablast myself.) Back in May 2007, Price was interviewed by Daniel Chudnov for his Library Geeks podcast (what’s happened to that anyway?). Interesting show. Interesting guy.
  • I completely missed this news, but it’s big. Apparently British ILS vendor/consortium Talis is contributing several million records to the Open Library project. Way to go, Talis. No word yet on whether OCLC will follow. 
  • The quote of the week comes from venture capitalist Barry Schuler, managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson: “If I see another business plan for a social network, I might blow my brains out.” I feel the same way about LibraryThing clones. If you’re considering one, write me an email and I’ll send you some other ideas for book-related companies. I’m contractually obligated not to do side-projects, and I have no money to invest so please, take my ideas. Don’t write the forty-first book social network! (hat-tip Steven)

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