Digital Library Digest: July 27, 2012

Posted by Christina Powers on July 27, 2012 in Digital Library Digest.

Library of America expands its digital efforts

“Launched at the end of 2011, the e-book program of the Library of America has released eight titles so far with plans to publish about two e-books a month for the next year. LOA publisher Max Rudin explained that the nonprofit charged with producing high-quality, beautifully designed editions of the best of American writing took its time to enter the digital market because it needed to make sure it did it right. ‘Our e-books have to be scrupulously produced, just like our print books, and it’s taken us a while’ to find the right partner, Rudin said. That partner turned out to be eBook Architects of Austin, Tex.

“LOA began its e-book program in November 2011 with The 50 Funniest American Writers According to Andy Borowitz, which is also its bestselling e-book title. LOA has published seven more e-book titles since, among them The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael; The Civil War: The First Year Told by Those Who Lived It; and The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard. Rudin said he expects LOA to release at least 30 e-books by the end of 2013. LOA e-books are released in print and digital editions simultaneously, ‘when we can,’ said Rudin, ‘and we’re filling in where we can with the backlist.’

“’Our mission is to make texts as widely available as possible,’ Rudin said about LOA’s expanding digital efforts.’Our subscribers want digital for a lot of reasons, including for travel, and it’s our obligation to make sure these books are available digitally.’”

From Calvin Reid’s article in Publishers Weekly, Library of America Steps Up Its Digital Effort

Publishers must rethink business model to avoid extinction

“E-books are quickly moving towards 50% of a title’s sale and could go as high as 75%. So publishers need to bite the bullet and make the first edition the ebook. This would let them go from manuscript to ship in only twenty weeks, half the time it usually takes to produce a print book.

“This change would force publishers to rethink the many practices built on the 40-week schedule: sell-in, which now occurs 6 months before pub; initial marketing, which relies on bound galleys; and catalogues, which wedge lists into seasons. In exchange, publishers would gain publicity immediacy and more flexible lists.

“Overall, publishers should be in the community-building business. The books would be how they monetize it. There is much they can learn from academic and professional publishers who have long established relationships with targeted communities.

“Managing a community can’t be left to that assistant who tweets. Nor can a publisher have a monolithic voice. Many in the publishing house, the core community, should take part as fans themselves, regardless of job description. Publishers can’t just ask questions of their audience, then exit stage right. They have to let them behind the curtain and see the books being made.

“So adult trade publishers should learn from children’s book publishers and do more library outreach. After all, they act like a store, and they’re customers, and they’re the greatest champions for books. Publishers could provide guidance for town libraries’ collections, just as they do for independent stores. They could give them co-op, seeing as they’re always strapped for cash. And they could supply posters, postcards and shelftalkers. Publishers wouldn’t be advertising, of course. They’d be like NPR sponsors, just encouraging people to read.

“Publishers certainly shouldn’t try to restrict library patrons’ access to ebooks. which kills community and gives publishers a bad name. Such an attitude won’t serve them well when many library shelves will be online.”

From Stephen Power’s article in the Huffington Post, Three Ways Publishers Can Avoid Extinction

 Over 100,000 free concert recordings now available in Internet Archive live music collection

“Some think of the Internet Archive as just the Wayback Machine, but we have other great collections.   Our music collection is worth listening to and made some jumps recently:

“Our live music collection now has over 100,000 concerts from over 5,000 bands (including an almost complete collection of Grateful Dead concerts)

“New:  The first phase of Internet music was the Internet Underground Music Archive, which is now back and available (thanks to John Gilmore and Jason Scott).

“New: A mirror of the fantastic creative-commons Jamendo collection is also up.

“New: Comprehensive recordings from the DNA Lounge, San Francisco venue.

“And the first ‘music video’ from 1894-1895 that was found recently, reconstructed painstakingly by the legendary Walter Murch, and then he donated it to the archive.”

From Brewster Kahle’s post on the Internet Archive blog, More Music on the Archive

NYC Historical Geographic Information Systems project transforms maps as images into historic, geographic data

“Digitizing the old maps — in this initial stage, primarily detailed insurance and real estate atlases of New York City — is only the beginning of a multi-step process that turns map images into actual geographical data. Imagine Google Maps, but with a ‘go back in time’ option.

“Roughly 7,800 new maps have been scanned and mounted thus far, and more than 9,300 metadata records have been created for related collections, including our New York City zoning maps dating to 1916, most of our public domain fire insurance atlases of areas outside of the city in New York and New Jersey, and NYPL’s entire collection of historical and contemporary New York state topographic maps.

“If the project’s current pace continues at this rate, the Library anticipates more than 17,000 historical maps will be digitized, most of which concentrate on the five boroughs, with significant coverage of upstate New York and New Jersey as well. The scanned maps can be found in a number of places, starting with a chronological list of atlases arranged by borough in The Library’s Digital Gallery. For example, one of the atlases highlighted here (Insurance Maps of Brooklyn New York), features a graphically rich index page illustrating a Brooklyn that has yet to fill in the projected urban grid.”

From Matt Knutzen’s article in the Huffington Post, Elephant-Shaped Buildings and Other Curiosities: NYPL’s Map Librarian Talks About Making Historical Geography a Part of the Internet

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