Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Little Pony: Libraries are Magic

Here's my biggest #firstworldproblem I've experienced today: I accidentally deleted my daughter's favourite My Little Pony episode from our DVR which just happens to lack an undelete, recover from trash or undo option. The emotional fallout from this simple slip of the finger is going to be epic.

So this morning I had a little rant over coffee about how the User Design of this cable-company supplied DVR machine had deliberately made deleting shows easy to do because they really didn't want these machines to save shows forever.

My husband very gently challenged my conspiracy theory: "Then why does the DVR have so much memory and can store so many programs?"

And my reply was that while our DVR could sort of act like a family's library of favourite TV episodes and movies, we should remember that our DVR was really just a walled-garden of cable-company provided content. If it was something like a library (like Boxee) it would have the option to add shows from other sources, like from DVDs purchased elsewhere. And because it would put viewers needs first, it would have an undelete function.

Then, for a brief moment this morning, I curled up on the sofa with my Kindle DX and resumed my reading of The Information: A History, A Theory of Flood, happily highlighting passages that I would, late that day, synch up with my Readmill bookmarklet.

Can you see where I'm going with this?

The ebook services academic libraries offer up at the moment - MyiLibrary, SpringerLink, EBCSO eBrary - are just like my DVR - they possess some of the functionalities of a library, but they are really just a glorified subset of ebooks that never leave the confines of the parent company and are never joined by other books from other sources.

I'm convinced that libraries have to start making, or sponsoring, or commissioning library software for readers.

Because if don't, others will.

I'll tell you this, if I had to read and know fifty books, as Ph.D students are asked to do, I would seriously consider buying them all from Amazon just to make use of their Daily Review feature:

This a feature that puts the readers needs and personal goals first.

Not that such work is in my future. What's more likely is that I'm probably going to be getting My Little Pony on DVD from Amazon.

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