November 29th, 2007 Brian Herzog
For Thanksgiving, I drove from Massachusetts to my hometown in Ohio. It's about a 12-hour drive, each way, and I found that 12 hours in the car means different things to different people.
Most people reacted with, "ugh, that sounds miserable" or "I could never sit in the car that long."
I suppose I am lucky that I am an excellent sitter, but I also don't mind driving distances like that at all. I enjoy traveling and seeing the country (though it is unfortunate that not much can be seen at
80 65 mph). But this trip also meant 24 hours of audiobooks.
For this trip, I listened to The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, and also Washington Schlepped Here, by Christopher Buckley. The last one was kind of walking tour of Washington, D.C., with history, humor and current politics all blended together, and the first two are the two books that come after Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. I was thoroughly entertained for the entire trip, and although I didn't know much about The Golden Compass before, now I'm really looking forward to the movie.
But do you know what I like best about audiobooks?
This post is continued at this point on the other side of this blog
audio book, audio books, audiobook, audiobooks, driving, traveling
March 25th, 2007 Brian Herzog
Sometimes, existing knowledge just does not translate well when things change. And, having worked hard to obtain that knowledge, people are sometimes reluctant to let it go.
This seems especially true in libraries. Some of the convoluted procedures and jargon we come up with are not just barriers to entry for new patrons, but also barriers to evolution for experienced patrons who have learned our complex requirements.
This week's reference question was posted to the Maine Libraries Listserv, but I thought it was worth sharing here. I thought it was both funny and sad, but also intriguing:
patron: Is there any way to interlibrary loan a downloadable audiobook?
(I've actually encountered this before myself, with the Boston Public Library's eCard program. My consortium subscribes to Overdrive, and so does the BPL. We have different downloadable audiobooks in our collections, so my patrons (since anyone in Massachusetts can get a BPL card) essentially has two collections to borrow from. It isn't quite interlibrary loaning, but it is worth knowing.)
Why it's funny:
This question makes me laugh just because it's such an unusual idea - right on the border between clever and naively optimistic.
Why it's sad:
As clever as this might be, it also sounds like someone trying to circumvent the system - which always bothers me. But too, it could just as easily be a case of the system failing the needs - if we can freely share books, magazines, videos, CDs, DVDs, and pretty much everything else in the collection, why can't we share digital audiobooks? Such strict copyright laws exist for electronic media (which laws covering other media don't even approach in restrictiveness) that it's frustrating to me to see this shortcoming. What this patron wants is possible with current technology, but is prohibited by the current business plans of corporations.
Why it's intriguing:
But even still, the idea of interlibrary loaning a digital audiobook is interesting. Aside from the file size, why shouldn't libraries be able to loan around their digital audiobook collections? They could be emailed or made available in a password-protected section of our website. This is another case where, if libraries banded together and spoke with one voice, we could possibly force change so we can get the tools we need to best serve patrons, rather than just take the tools that vendors develop.
Like with opacs - as companies like Sirsi/Dynix decide to drop entire product lines [pdf], librarians are developing tools like Evergreen and Scriblio (formerly WPopac) that actually address the needs that exist, not just make sense in a boardroom.
audiobooks, digital audiobooks, downloadable audiobooks, dynix, evergreen, libraries, library, opac, opacs, overdrive, pines, public libraries, public library, reference question, rome, scriblio, sirsi, sirsi/dynix, sirsidynix, wpopac
Tags: audiobooks, digital audiobooks, downloadable audiobooks, dynix, evergreen, libraries, Library, opac, opacs, overdrive, pines, public libraries, public library, Reference Question, rome, scriblio, sirsi, sirsi/dynix, wpopac