Why is the Library of Congress not more involved in discussions of Google Book Search and the impending Settlement? Google searching finds virtually no evidence that LC has had any voice at all in the recent flurry of talk on this. For example, these Google web searches pull up only incidental connections: < “library of congress” “google book” > < billington “google book” > < “library of congress” google settlement > (The main connection found here is a panel discussion of the Settlement that was held at LC in April, but none of the panelists were from LC.)

As the “de facto national library” of the US and “the largest library in the world,” wouldn’t it seem logical that LC be involved in thinking about GBS and the Settlement, which some say will change the way we read more than anything since the printing press?

I’ve been thinking about this idea for several months, but especially after writing an article in May on the apparently woeful state of Information Technology Strategic Planning at LC, as stated in a report by LC’s  Inspector General. Could there be a connection? Is this apparent lack of vision related to LC’s non-engagement with the momentous issues of the Settlement?

I was glad to discover, in doing research for this article, that someone else is thinking at least a bit along the same lines — Peter Eckersly, at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggested recently that Google put a copy of all books they scan at the Library of Congress — A fairly modest proposal, but maybe it will at least have the effect of bringing the Library of Congress at long last into the spotlight.

Eric Rumsey is at @ericrumsey

Several commentors on my recent article about Salman Rushdie’s imaginative foretelling of the Web have suggested that Rushdie’s vision — of a library made up of the Stream of all Stories ever told — was influenced by Jorge Luis Borges’ story The Library of Babel — which describes the universe as a library containing all books. There certainly is a resemblance, in that both Rushdie and Borges imagine a library of all knowledge. But the nature of the libraries pictured by the two writers is quite different. Borges’ library is very much a print library, made up of physical books. Much of the description of the library (as in the quote below) involves the intricate geometry of the shelves and the exact description of the books in the library.

In Borges’ library, as in the traditional print library, the books sit on the shelf, with no suggestion of their being connected to each other, no sense of movement. Rushdie, on the other hand, imagines a library in which the books flow in a stream — twisting and stretching and weaving in and out of each other. As I’ve discussed in the previous article, Rushdie’s vision resonates with recent discussions of the growing sense of the Web’s Stream-like, flowing nature and also with the coming revolution in libraries, as books are digitized, remaking them into Rushdie’s “fluid form.” The excerpts below give a sense of the different visions of the Library of Rushdie and Borges.

From Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of stories:

[The Ocean of the Stream of Stories is] “made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different color, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity.” Rushdie imagines this Ocean as “the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead but alive.” [See previous article for complete passage and for picture credit.]

From Borges’ The Library of Babel:

“The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries, with vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings. From any of the hexagons one can see, interminably, the upper and lower floors. The distribution of the galleries is invariable. Twenty shelves, five long shelves per side, cover all the sides except two; their height, which is the distance from floor to ceiling, scarcely exceeds that of a normal bookcase. … There are five shelves for each of the hexagon’s walls; each shelf contains thirty-five books of uniform format; each book is of four hundred and ten pages; each page, of forty lines, each line, of some eighty letters which are black in color.” [The picture accompanies the Web version of story, and is not credited; it appears on numerous other sites.]

Related articles:

Eric Rumsey is at @ericrumsey

When I first read the passage below in Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the sea of stories three years ago, it struck me as a remarkable word picture of my experience of the Web. So of course I went right to Google to see if anyone else had made this connection — My searching, surprisingly, has found little since then, so I’ve thought about writing it up, but it didn’t get done. In the last week, I’ve gotten nudges (discussed below) that tell me this is the time. Here’s Rushdie:

Haroun looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different color, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and [the Water Genie] explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each colored strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of yarns. It was not dead but alive.

Pow! Isn’t this a strikingly clear metaphorical description of the Web Stream that we all swim in every day? My first idea of a title for this article was “Did Salman Rushdie predict the Web?” I decided that was a bit too presumptuous  — But not by much — The passage does indeed verge on prediction. It was written in 1990 — Interestingly, the same year that Tim Berners-Lee “invented” the World Wide Web. It’s tempting to imagine the left-brained engineer (Berners-Lee) and the right-brained artist-seer (Rushdie) both envisioning the future Web in their own ways — Berners-Lee in outlining his Web ideas at CERN, and Rushdie in writing Haroun.

How has this passage and its Webishness gone unnoticed for so many years? Haroun is a story on many levels — Rushdie wrote it for his young son, and it’s often put in the category of “childrens’ literature.” I suspect this is the main reason it hasn’t been read often enough by grown-up Web users for someone to have seen Rushdie’s Stream of the Web metaphor. (Note that Haroun is on a prominent list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time)

How about the library connections in the passage? As a librarian, it certainly occurs to me that it could be viewed as being especially about libraries, maybe even seen as a threat to the traditional print library (“storeroom of yarns”). But I think, to the contrary, that Rushdie’s passage does the library world a great service, ushering us into the “liquid tapestry” of the digital Ocean, in which the Stream of “the library” will be able to “weave in and out” with the “thousand thousand and one different currents” outside of the traditional library world. Recent discussions of Google Book Search and orphan books show that the world is eagerly anticipating the stories in libraries being put into “fluid form.” And, in fact, library leader Peter Brantley, in commentary on GBS written in January 2009, talking about the coming age of digital books, uses language reminiscent of Rushdie: “We stride into a world where books are narratives in long winding rivers … and seas from which all rivers and rain coalesce.”

Speaking of the library world — As mentioned, there has been a notable lack of anyone else seeing a connection between the Rushdie passage and the Web. But the closest I’ve seen is in a paper co-authored by an engineer (JH Lienhard) and two librarians (JE Myers, TC Wilson), that was written in 1992, Surfing the Sea of Stories: Riding the Information Revolution (Mechanical Engineering 1992 Oct; 114(10): 60-65). This does an excellent job of connecting the Rushdie passage to the coming digital revolution, as it was seen in 1992, and contains the perceptively-done graphic in this article (above). But of course the full-blown Web was not born until 1995, so this view is limited. (The paper is summarized in the transcript of a radio program about it.)

Nudges for writing about this in the last week: First, In his blog article, Is The Stream What Comes After the Web?, Nova Spivack suggests that the metaphor of The Stream may soon replace The Web. The article doesn’t mention Rushdie, but it has elicited much discussion on Twitter, and someone would surely make the connection soon. Spivack does mention Twitter, saying that it and other microblogging systems are “the best example of the Stream,” which is related to the other nudge I’ve gotten, a blog article by Joff Redfern, Twitter is becoming the Ocean of the Stream of Stories. This is short , consisting mainly of the Rushdie quote above, but with its title it would likely be connected to Spivack’s Stream and Rushdie’s Streams of Stories sooner or later. Taken together, I think the articles by Spivack and Redfern indicate that Twitter is bringing to peoples’ minds the “stream-like” nature of the Web — The way big streams (e.g. swine flu 2 weeks ago) weave in and out with the day-to-day small streams of peoples’ lives on the Twitter ocean, with the stories constantly rewriting themselves.

Related articles:

Eric Rumsey is at @ericrumsey

Two recent articles, one by a librarian and one by a publisher, talk of the growing realization on the part of both parties that they increasingly have common interests, as both learn how to deal with the the implications of electronic publishing — Librarian Barbara Fister’s Library Journal cover story Publishers & Librarians: Two cultures one goal and publisher Neil Schlager’s blog article The problem with reference publishing.

Reading these articles has got me thinking about what I’ve been writing about on this blog in the last several months — As shown in the Categories (right sidebar) many of the subjects discussed here have common librarian-publisher threads. And in fact some of these articles have drawn comments from publisher kinds of people as well as librarians (See below). Thinking further, I realize how valuable Twitter has been for connecting to the publisher community, serving as a wide-ranging forum for discussion of current topics. So I’m listing below some of the people I’ve met on Twitter who talk about librarian/publisher issues:

Librarians:
Jose Afonso Furtado (@jafurtado)
Peter Brantley (@naypinya)
Nancy Picchi (@islandlibrarian)
Roy Tennant (@rtennant)
Lorcan Dempsey (@lisld)
Publishers:
Adam Hodgkin (@adamhodgkin)
Mike Shatzkin (@MikeShatzkin)
Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) – See more below
Neil Schlager (@neilschlager)
Kat Meyer (@KatMeyer)
Joe Wikert (@jwikert)

In her own category: Kassia Krozier (@booksquare) – Not a librarian or a publisher, but in the center of the discussion!

Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) and his group at O’Reilly Publishing have created a unique gathering place for thinking about the future of publishing. The O’Reilly Radar blog has articles by Tim and a group of other writers, some with library connections, notably Peter Brantley (@naypinya). In addition, the annual O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference (TOC) in New York has speakers from the library world as well as the publishing world. Writers and speakers for the O’Reilly blog and TOC conference appear regularly on @timoreilly‘s Twitter tweets. Also, during the TOC conference, on-site Twitter reports are extensive. Joe Wikert (@jwikert), from the list above, also works at O’Reilly.

To read Seeing the Picture articles about issues of libraries and publishing, see the categories Publishing and TOC. Articles that have had comments/discussions with publishing people: Copyright in Google Books: Pictures & Text and Jon Orwant on Google Book Search at TOC.

Eric Rumsey is at @ericrumsey

Why is this not being more widely reported?! Library of Congress Inspector General Karl Shornagel’s 60-page PDF report, as far as I can find, has been linked only in two short postings in non-library blogs, and in a few Twitter tweets, since Schornagel reported to the House Administration Committee on Apr 29. Surely it deserves more than that, so I’m doing extensive excerpting. Many thanks to @christinekraft for bringing this to my attention.

Information Technology Strategic Planning

Report from Karl Schornagel, Inspector General of Library of Congress, presented to James Billington, the Librarian of Congress

[p 1-2] EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The intent of this review was to assess the effectiveness of information technology (IT) strategic planning at the Library of Congress (Library or LC). To evaluate whether the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) Strategic Plan supports and implements the Library’s Strategic Plan as it pertained to the IT infrastructure, the Library Office of the Inspector General (OIG) contracted with A‐TECH Systems, Inc. … the Strategic Planning process for IT at the Library of Congress is not well integrated with essential planning components, and is not instituted Library‐wide, resulting in the following findings.

1. STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS ‐ Strategic Planning for IT is not a unifying force at the Library, does not link directly to the Library Strategic Plan, and does not have a forward‐looking view.
2. IT INVESTMENT PROCESS ‐ Strategic Planning is not linked to the IT investment process, resulting in the duplication of efforts and acquisitions.
3. ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE ‐ The organizational structure of the Information Technology Services (ITS) directorate at the Library does not foster strategic planning and good IT governance.
4. ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE ‐ The Library is missing an Enterprise Architecture program that should be coupled with a strategy to provide a roadmap for implementing future technology.
5. CUSTOMER SERVICE – ITS customer service needs improvement.

In our opinion, all of these findings are in large part the result of an unclear sense of how IT planning fits into the Library’s mission and the roles and responsibilities of the employees, as well as a lack of linkage between the IT strategic planning processes at the Library and actual performance. Furthermore, those Library employees charged with IT planning need to adopt a holistic view of planning that incorporates and supports a clear mission view with an insight into customer goals and objectives. Although some steps have been taken towards this effort, the progress is not seen Library‐wide.

We received a formal response to this report on April 15, 2009. Library management agreed with the majority of our findings and recommendations. Although management did not feel the improvements since the LC21 report (in 2000) were adequately addressed, we believe these improvements were sufficiently addressed in the executive summary and the conclusion of this report. Management responses and A‐Tech comments are included in the report after each recommendation. The entire response can be found in Appendix E.

[p 7] FINDING 1 – STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS

We found that the strategic planning process is not a unifying force at the Library of Congress and not incorporated into the organization’s culture. Specifically, we found that:

1. The Library’s Strategic Planning process was not inclusive of all internal stakeholders;
2. The Library’s IT Strategic Plan does not align well with the Library’s Strategic Plan;
3. The Library’s digitization efforts are scattered and lacking in specific focus.

[p 8] We do not agree with the decision of the Library’s leadership to make strategic planning a management‐only activity. We suggest that the Library allow line employees to actively participate in the strategic planning process. …

Lack of Buyin to Library’s Strategic Plan Below the Senior Management Level (Section headings in boldface)

In interviewing Library staff, we found that most felt they had not been active participants in the development of the Library’s Strategic Plan or in the IT Strategic Plan. Those interviewees who previously worked at other federal agencies felt that the Library’s processes for IT strategic planning were “immature” by comparison.

[p 9] Misaligned Strategic Plans and Ineffective Planning Process

[p 10] The Library Does Not Have a Focused Digitization Vision
… despite many successes, the strategy for “digitizing” the Library collections seems to lack an overall Library vision. …

[p 14] FINDING 2 – IT INVESTMENT PROCESS

We found that the IT investment process at the Library is not linked to its strategic plan.

1. The Library’s IT planning is not linked to an investment process.
2. There is duplication of costs.
3. There is no consistent Cost‐benefit Analysis (Analysis of Alternatives) done
by ITS.
4. The Library does not transparently track IT costs.

No Comprehensive Library Strategy for IT investments

Despite the MDEP process, we concluded that there is not an overall Library strategy for prioritizing and budgeting for IT investments to include new projects, replacement of existing systems, hardware, software, and services support.

[p 15] No Coordination of IT Costs across Library

[p 17] Inconsistent CostBenefit Analyses

[p 18] Lack of Transparency in Tracking IT Costs

[p 22] FINDING 3 – ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

The organizational structure of the ITS Directorate at the Library does not foster strategic planning and proper IT governance.

OSI Is Not Optimally Structured

[p 24] RECOMMENDATIONS

The organizational structure of the ITS Directorate needs to be realigned to foster strategic planning and IT governance at the Library.

[p 25] FINDING 4 – ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE

The Library lacks an Enterprise Architecture (EA) program. … We found that the Library has not yet implemented an Enterprise Architecture …

[p 28] RECOMMENDATIONS

The Library needs to implement an Enterprise Architecture that could be coupled with a strategy and provide a roadmap for implementing technology in the future.

[p 30] FINDING 5 – CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer Support Issues

Our review indicated that beyond long‐term strategic planning issues, ITS customers were experiencing significant customer service problems. We believe that this condition is related to the lack of long‐term strategic planning in that ITS does not operate on a long‐term plan to monitor or improve customer service. …

[p 31] The Help Desk is staffed by contractors, whose quality is inconsistent. Help Desk contractors will often install the wrong versions of software and the customers will reinstall the software themselves. Customers have reported that instead of fixing a problem, the Help Desk contractors will frequently replace hard drives or recreate customer accounts.

[p 33] RECOMMENDATIONS

The Library needs to implement a formal process for soliciting customer feedback for recommendations, ideas, and complaints, and implement changes to improve customer service.

[p 35] CONCLUSION

Many recommendations made in this report can be implemented at a low cost and can be accomplished with existing resources. …

The LC21 (2000) report made the following recommendations, which still hold true today:

“…information technology can, should, and must be taken as a strategic asset of the Library as a whole and managed strategically from the very top.“

“…there needs to be serious strategic planning. Concrete projects must be established and undertaken to make real the Library’s ability to select, acquire, preserve, and manage digital content. These initiatives must reach across the whole interlinked set of processes from copyright registration through deposit to reader services.”

[Following p 49] Response, by James Billington. [The body of the document, excerpted above, is native PDF, and can be copied, but Billington's response is apparently scanned PDF, and not able to be copied.] Billington’s main objection to the report is that it doesn’t give LOC credit for having made progress since the last assessment was done in 2000 (LC21: A Digital strategy for the Library of Congress). But in responding to specific points in the new report, he’s mostly in agreement.

Eric Rumsey is at @ericrumsey

In a recent posting at O’Reilly Radar, Linda Stone discusses recent comments by Brewster Kahle and Robert Darnton on the Google Book Search Settlement. This is especially valuable for its talk about the orphan books problem, discussed by Kahle, as Stone reports, and in comments by Thomas Lord and Tim O’Reilly. I’m excerpting this interchange here. About Kahle’s posting, Stone says that he “focused on the plight of ‘orphan works’ – that vast number of books that are still under copyright but whose authors can no longer be found.”

Thomas Lord’s first comment — He says he’s thought much about the settlement:

My conclusion [around the time of the settlement] was that the big libraries, like Harvard, had made a bad deal — they didn’t understand the tech well enough and Google basically not only steamrollered them but implicated them in the potentially massive infringement case.

Basically, Google should have, indeed, paid for scanning and building the databases – but the ownership of those databases should have remained entirely with the libraries … The Writer’s Guild caved pretty easy and pretty early but legal pressure can still be brought to bear on Google. They can give up their private databases back to the libraries that properly should own them in the first place.

Tim O’Reilly’s comment on the article, and especially on Lord’s comment:

I agree with Tom’s analysis. (See my old post: Book search should work like web search [2006]). And I do agree with Brewster’s concern that this settlement will derail the kind of reform that would have solved this problem far more effectively. That’s still my preferred solution.

That being said, the tone of both Brewster’s comments and Darnton’s, implies that Google was up to some kind of skulduggery here. That’s unfair. Should they have stood up on principle to the Author’s Guild and the AAP? Absolutely, yes. But it’s the AG and the AAP who should be singled out for censure. … From conversations with people at Google, I believe that they do in fact continue to believe in real solutions to the orphaned works problem, and that demonizing them doesn’t do any of us any good.

The fact is, that Google made a massive investment to digitize these books in the first place. No one else was making the effort … In short, we’re comparing a flawed real world outcome with an “if wishes were horses” outcome that wasn’t in the cards. … Barring change to copyright law (and yes, we need that), Google has at least created digital copies of millions of books that were not otherwise available at all. Make those useful enough and valuable enough, and I guarantee there will be pressure to change the law so that others can profit too. …

Google Book Search was an important step forward in building an ebook ecosystem. I wish this settlement hadn’t happened, and that Google had held out for the win on the idea that search is fair use. And I wish that Google had taken the road that Tom outlined. … But they put hundreds of millions of dollars into a project that no one else wanted to touch. And frankly, I think we’re better off, even with this flawed settlement, than if Google had never done this in the first place.

Finally, I’ll point out that there is more competition in ebooks today than at any time in the past. Any claim that we’re on the verge of a huge Google monopoly, such as Darnton claims, is so far from the truth as to be laughable. Google is one of many contenders in an exploding marketplace.

Thomas Lord’s reply to O’Reilly:

… In the spirit of understanding things: you praise Google, I don’t. We’re better off those books having been scanned (I strongly agree) – I don’t like the way they bull-in-china-shop worked this. I think there’s a deep and lasting threat here that they need to fix if they want to “not be evil.”

In a recent NY Times article that I blogged on, Dan Clancy, the engineering director for Google book search, is cited as saying “every month users view at least 10 pages of more than half of the one million out-of-copyright books that Google has scanned into its servers.” Remarkably, this classic long tail description of Google Books seems not to have been noticed by anyone — I’ve searched in Google (web and blogs) for various word combinations in the quote combined with “Dan Clancy,” and have found nothing at all except the original NYT article.

The long tail idea, which was first described by Chris Anderson in 2004, is that when a very large number of users are given a very large number of items to choose from, especially in an online environment with virtually unlimited “shelf space” and easy access, a very wide variety of items will be chosen. Anderson proposed the idea especially to describe commercial sites such as Amazon and Netflix, but it has also been seen as a good fit for libraries, and especially online library/book sources, such as Google Books.

So — Yes — There has been discussion of Google Books and the long tail. For the most part, though, this has been on a conceptual, non-numeric level. The statement by Clancy is valuable because it’s the first time there have been actual numbers provided by Google sources to back up the conceptual ideas. And, indeed, striking numbers they are — every month, half of the out-of-copyright books — i.e. old books — in Google Books are getting significant use. The long tail will certainly be even longer when newer books are made available after the October 2008 settlement goes into effect.

The best numeric data that I’ve found on Google Books and the long tail is given in an article by Tim O’Reilly in 2006, which compares sales of O’Reilly Media book titles, as reported by Nielsen Bookscan, with page views from Google Books. As the graph (at left) from that article shows, the Google Books page views (in red) have a very long, almost flat, tail, in contrast with the relatively short tail for actual sales of book titles (in blue). Incidentally, the graph shown here has a bad link in the O’Reilly article, so all that displays is the file name; I did some digging on the O’Reilly site to find it here. (Feb 11: Bad link for this image and others in O’Reilly article are fixed, after I noted them in a comment.)

The closest thing I have found to other long tail numeric data relating to online books is reported in a 2006 article by Jason Epstein:

According to Mark Sandler of the University of Michigan Library, in an essay in Libraries and Google, an experiment by the library involving the digitization of 10,000 “low use” monographs offered on the Web produced “between 500,000 and one million hits per month.”

I suspect the realization of the “power of the long tail” shown in this experiment contributed to the University of Michigan opting to be one of the original library partners in the Google Books project.

Clancy cites high usage of out-of-copyright books

This article is generally unremarkable, although it does have some good quotes from prominent players. Otherwise, just another article in NY Times on Google Books. But it has two notable features — The first is the quote from Google’s Dan Clancy, in the second paragraph, stating a remarkably high volume of usage of out-of-copyright books. The second notable feature, which is why I’m excerpting the article at some length, is that it was given surprisingly little attention in the blogosphere/twittersphere when it was published a month ago.

Google hopes to open a trove of little-seen books [IHT version]
by Motoko Rich, New York Times, Jan 5, 2009

Ever since Google began scanning printed books four years ago, scholars and others … have been able to tap a trove of information that had been locked away on the dusty shelves of libraries and in antiquarian bookstores.

[boldface added] According to Dan Clancy, the engineering director for Google book search, every month users view at least 10 pages of more than half of the one million out-of-copyright books that Google has scanned into its servers.

The agreement, pending approval by a judge this year, also paved the way for both sides to make profits from digital versions of books. Just what kind of commercial opportunity the settlement represents is unknown, but few expect it to generate significant profits for any individual author. Even Google does not necessarily expect the book program to contribute significantly to its bottom line. … “We did not think necessarily we could make money,” said Sergey Brin, a Google founder and its president of technology, in a brief interview at the company’s headquarters. “We just feel this is part of our core mission. There is fantastic information in books. Often when I do a search, what is in a book is miles ahead of what I find on a Web site.”

Users are already taking advantage of out-of-print books that have been scanned and are available for free download. Mr. Clancy was monitoring search queries recently when one for “concrete fountain molds” caught his attention. The search turned up a digital version of an obscure 1910 book, and the user had spent four hours perusing 350 pages of it.

“More students in small towns around America are going to have a lot more stuff at their fingertips,” said Michael A. Keller, the university librarian at Stanford. “That is really important.”

Some librarians privately expressed fears that Google might charge high prices for subscriptions to the book database as it grows. … David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said the company wanted to push the book database to as many libraries as possible. “If the price gets too high,” he said, “we are simply not going to have libraries that can afford to purchase it.”

Authors view the possibility of readers finding their out-of-print books as a cultural victory more than a financial one. … “Our culture is not just Stephen King’s latest novel or the new Harry Potter book,” said James Gleick, a member of the board of the Authors Guild. “It is also 1,000 completely obscure books that appeal not to the one million people who bought the Harry Potter book but to 100 people at a time.”

Some scholars worry that Google users are more likely to search for narrow information than to read at length. “I have to say that I think pedagogically and in terms of the advancement of scholarship, I have a concern that people will be encouraged to use books in this very fragmentary way,” said Alice Prochaska, university librarian at Yale.

“There is no short way to appreciate Jane Austen …,” said Paul Courant, university librarian at the University of Michigan. “But a lot of reading is going to happen on screens. One of the important things about this settlement is that it brings the literature of the 20th century back into a form that the students of the 21st century will be able to find it.”

In the last year, we’ve begun to include the copyright status of pictures on Hardin MD pages. We have especially done this to show which pictures are not under copyright and are therefore free to copy.

Recently Peter Brantley suggested that libraries should make it easy for users to find public domain content on their sites. So, with thanks to Brantley for this idea, we’ve made a page that shows public domain galleries for specific diseases (see snip below).

Brantley also suggests that libraries with public domain content make the content available from a specific directory called /public. This seems like a good idea, and we will be considering it.