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A Few Notable News Stories

   March 25th, 2010

I usually don't like just reposting things unless I have something intelligent to say about it. Regardless, here are a few news stories I noticed recently that seem to be flying under the radar (intelligent commentary optional):


Raj PatelThe Life of Raj Patel
Sure you've heard of Raj Patel and his books The Value of Nothing and Stuffed and Starved - but did you know he is the messiah?

Neither did he, but the folks of Share International are treating him like Brian, despite his denials, because they know Only the true Messiah denies His divinity. (via)


Overdrive Announcements
Overdrive logoTwo Overdrive stories: one about LEAP, their New Program for Visually Impaired Readers, and another about a program to Offer Honor System eBook Lending for Libraries, so no DRM. Both worth investigating.


Free Music, as in Free Lunch, as in No Such Thing
Freegal logoAlso on the DRM theme is a Library Journal article about a new music service called Freegal, from Library Ideas, LLC and Sony. Interesting in that this service will

  • have no DRM, just plain old mp3 files
  • require no content manager software
  • trust people to follow copyright law, instead of just assume they're criminals
  • charge libraries per download, rather than an annual subscription (or rather, a "minimum annual commitment" which can be managed on a weekly basis)

All good news, but I'm curious to see how the pricing model works - it's not like anything else used in libraries, is it? And who out there thinks a website called "freegal" might get blocked by sex filters?


What Do You Know About Knowr.com?
Knowr logoNot a news story, but I got a press release about Ooga Labs' new Knowr.com, billed as a "Question and Answer site that ties to the users social graph ... to create a vibrant knowledge network." What I liked about it is their approach:

At first, we had thought that people ... could use our service to share what they know with each other, both within their own particular industries, and in exciting, boundary crossing ways. With a little research, we saw that these groups already have vibrant communities online.

Then we quickly noticed teens and other Facebook super users are using services like this to conduct informal interviews of each other and celebrities.

I'm not entirely sure what it does, or why, or that it isn't already being done, but I did like that they decided to use existing web platforms (in this case, Facebook) to integrate with, instead of building a whole new networking tool. Good approach.

However, since it requires a Facebook account, that leaves me out.

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2 Responses to “A Few Notable News Stories”

  1. Liz Fleshman Says:

    Thank you for mentioning Knowr, Brian. I’d like to speak quickly to why you might use our site, and perhaps its best to give an example. In my early college years, I attended an introductory library session. The librarian showed us how to use the online tools and cautioned us to be aware of who is producing information online.

    When we returned to our classroom, the collective agreement was, “we understand the online tools. What we had hoped to learn was how to browse and find useful books, since our libraries in high school used Dewey Decimal and this library uses a mysterious combination of letters.”

    The librarian had told us if we had any questions, we could email him, but we imagined he was too busy and it would be like standing in line at the DMV.

    In this case, if he had directed us to an institutional site on Knowr.com, we would have been able to ask our questions, and he would have had instant feedback about what we took away from his presentation and how he could make it even more useful for the next group. Perhaps the professor could have directed us to Knowr before the presentation, and the librarian could have had the opportunity to know what our questions were before we stepped into his classroom.

    This is just one example, and we have many other ideas for how this might work. We’d love any feedback the library community might give us for how to make this more useful and interesting.

    I appreciate your feedback about Facebook. I will be sure to pass it along to the team. At this stage, once you’ve created your Knowr account, you can also cross post to Twitter, and invite email contacts.

    I hope your readers feel welcome to visit Knowr, and to contact me any time at liz [at] knowr [dot] com.

    Liz Fleshman
    Community Manager for Knowr

  2. Liz Fleshman Says:

    Oh! And, of course, use of the site is free.