Tag Archives: e books

A Hackers’ Library: What They Talk About When They Talk About Public Libraries


Deutsche Version

At the end of December the Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) took place for the 32th time—this time again in Hamburg. The Chaos Computer Club calls it the annual four-day conference on technology, society and utopia“. 12.000 hackers and computer experts came together to take part in about 130 lectures and workshops (see the recordings on https://media.ccc.de/c/32c3, many in English).

So what? What are the connections to public libraries?

Unfortunately there are not many—although libraries have widely open access policies, many digital resources, provide makerspaces, and even lend hardware such as Arduino, MaKey MaKey Kits, and wifi hotspots.

There was a presentation by Marcell Mars with the title „Public Library/Memory of the World. Access to knowledge for every member of society“. I was surprised that public libraries found their way to the programme of the CCC. But no, wait a moment: it is a presentation on Marcell Mars’ own shadow e-book-library. He just takes the notion of Public Library as the “universal space of free exchange of all knowledge” and turns himself and his friends into librarians.

Mars’s project has taken this broad consensus [on public libraries] as the basis for Public Library and on-line book sharing project which promulgates the utopian 
hacker ethic of the universal space of free exchange of all knowledge by 
seeking to fuse a number of existing internet based projects for either 
managing or exchanging electronic publications (such as Calibre) along with
his own plug ins to create a peer 2 peer culture for the exchange of books.” (http://new-tactical-research.co.uk/blog/1012/)

It is nonetheless very interesting to see how a library a hacker invents looks like. The „public library“ is a „distributed internet infrastructure for amateur librarians“ sharing their e-book-collections (and very likely not caring about any copyright rules).

So how shall an OPAC look like? On www.memoryoftheworld.org you see their approach: mere covers and a direct (!) link stating the format (PDF, EPUB, etc.) to the full text (of course there are search functions as well).

Bildschirmfoto 2016-02-01 um 16.50.54

By the way: as a software for the backend e-book-management Marcell Mars uses Calibre: http://calibre-ebook.com/


Eine Bibliothek der Hacker: Wovon sie reden, wenn sie von Bibliotheken reden

Ende Dezember fand der 32. Chaos Communication Congress (CCC) statt – diesmal wieder in Hamburg. Der Chaos Computer Club bezeichnet den Kongress als die „jährliche viertägige Konferenz zu Technologie, Gesellschaft und Utopie“. 12.000 Hacker und Computerexperten trafen sich, um an 130 Vorträgen und Workshops teilzunehmen (die Aufzeichnungen der Vorträge finden sich auf https://media.ccc.de/c/32c3).

Was hat das mit Öffentlichen Bibliotheken zu tun? Worin bestehen die Verbindungen?

Leider gibt es bislang nicht allzu viele – obwohl Bibliotheken weithin Open Access Policies haben, eine Vielzahl an digitalen Ressourcen, Makerspaces besitzen und sogar Hardware ausleihen wie z. B. Arduino, MaKey MaKey Kits und WLAN-Hotspots.

Aber es gab einen Vortrag von Marcell Mars mit dem Titel “Öffentliche Bibliothek / Gedächtnis der Welt. Der Zugang zu Wissen für jedes Mitglied der Gesellschaft”. Ich war überrascht, dass Öffentliche Bibliotheken ihren Weg ins Programm des CCC gefunden hatten. Aber nein, Moment mal: Es handelt sich um einen Vortrag zu Marcell Mars’ eigener Schatten-E-Book-Bibliothek. Er übernimmt nur das Konzept der Öffentlichen Bibliothek als „universeller Ort des freien Austauschs von Wissen” und macht sich selbst und seine Freundinnen und Freunde zu Bibliothekar_innen.

Mars’ Projekt nimmt den breiten Konsens zu Öffentlichen Bibliotheken als Basis seines ‘Public Library’-Projekts, des Projekts des Online-Büchertauschs. Er verkündigt die utopische Hacker-Ethik des universalen Ortes für den freien Austausch allen Wissens, indem er eine Anzahl bereits bestehender internetbasierter Projekte zur Verwaltung oder zum Austausch elektronischer Publikationen (wie Calibre) mit einem eigenen Plug-in verknüpft, um eine Peer-to-Peer-Kultur des Austauschs von Büchern zu schaffen.“ (http://new-tactical-research.co.uk/blog/1012/)

Nichtsdestotrotz ist es sehr interessant sich anzuschauen, wie eine Bibliothek aussieht, die ein Hacker erschafft. Die „Public Library“ ist eine „verteilte Internet-Infrastruktur für Amateur-Bibliothekar_innen“, die ihre E-Book-Sammlungen tauschen wollen (und sich wahrscheinlich nicht besonders um irgendwelche urheberrechtlichen Regeln scheren).

Wie sollte ein OPAC also aussehen? Auf www.memoryoftheworld.org ist der Hacker-OPAC zu sehen: bloße Cover und ein direkter (!) Link, mit Hinweis auf das Format (PDF, EPUB, etc.), zum Volltext (natürlich gibt es darüber hinaus auch Suchfunktionen).

Bildschirmfoto 2016-02-01 um 16.50.54

Übrigens: Als Software für das Backend der E-Book-Verwaltung nutzt Marcell Mars Calibre: http://calibre-ebook.com/

The public library’s collection in a digital age

ebook lady

The Latest edition of Scandinavian Library Quarterly focuses on collections in the digital era. Lots of good reading.

Of particular interest for public libraries is the article ‘The public library’s collection in the digital age’ written by Jakob Heide Petersen from Copenhagen Central Library.

Jakob describes how media development and the expansion of the Internet pose a challenge to the public libraries’ traditional approach to their core service, (ie the collection) and the digital age produces a veritable media glut. Is it, therefore, relevant for the public library to offer the public access to just part of the media? Or should the library in fact ensure access to all media for all citizens? The question is whether focusing on the collection and the media is the right point of departure for the public library’s future development?

Another ‘must read’ is ‘National cooperation in Finland’   by Aino Ketonen.  Since the end of February, the public libraries in Finland have had the opportunity to join a consortium agreement and approximately 60 municipalities have joined the consortium since the initiative was introduced.

Finally Rikke Lind Andersson talks about Denmark is reading  the national campaign initiated in 2013by the Danish Minister for Culture, Marianne Jelved. DKK 20 million has been allocated to the initiative over the next four years. A central element of the campaign is a competition between the 98 municipalities to become Denmark’s best reading municipality. 46 municipalities entered the competition by submitting their applications describing the creative ideas to leverage fiction reading amongst nonreaders. The national reading campaign is called Denmark is Reading. Recently 12 Danish municipalities were awarded the title ‘reading municipalities’ by an independent jury, based on their creative and innovative reading activities.

ebooks and elending – the myths and misconceptions?


The Australian Library and Information Association has just released the Comparison of ebooks and elending in Australian Public Libraries 2013 v 2014  report. This report provides a snapshot of the situation in Australian public libraries in January 2013 and May 2014 and is essential reading for all public library colleagues. Here you will find some great factual responses to the common misconceptions about the new library age.

A post-Lyon eBook opportunity


It goes without saying that you must attend the Public Libraries Satellite in Birmingham before travelling to Lyon for the IFLA Congress but why not consider going to Paris for the LPD eBook Satellite when you leave Lyon?

LPD is the IFLA section for Libraries serving Persons with Print Disabilities. And this year they have organised a satellite in Paris, directly after IFLA WLIC in Lyon. There are frequent fast trains connecting Lyon with Paris Gare du Lyon. Getting there is easy.

The strong and interesting program will run from 22-23 August.

e-lending Landscape Report Released


In December 2013, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) commissioned Brussels-based Civic Agenda to produce a worldwide e-lending landscape report, identifying public library-led initiatives to secure ebooks for borrowers. The report is now available.

This report is the latest step in a project, delivered in collaboration with the National and State Libraries of Australasia (NSLA) and the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), that has involved think tanks held around Australia; formal discussions with library leaders, including the ALIA ebooks and elending reference group, and the publication of a series of papers on the ALIA website .

These activities have helped move the conversation with other book industry stakeholders forward, but Australian public libraries continue to experience great difficulty in obtaining ebooks for elending and finding a platform that will meet the desired criteria:

  • A secure, trusted repository that contains ebooks from the big publishers, as well as from authors direct, and from local publishers
  • Content procured at a fair price
  • Providing access to local history content
  • Library branded
  • Providing content that can be accessed from all sorts of devices
  • With a clever discovery layer
  • The options of loan or buy

This landscape report on elending platform developments internationally is intended to help identify practical solutions for Australian public libraries.

For more information about the ALIA ebooks and elending project, please visit our website or email advocacy@alia.org.au.

A Salute to Paris

Standing Committee members outside Bibliothèque Marguerite Duras

Standing Committee members outside Bibliothèque Marguerite Duras


From 3-5 May members of the Public Library Standing Committee were in Paris for the mid term meeting. What a warm welcome that beautiful city and our hosts extended to us. Committee member Annie Dourlent had arranged a rich program and we were able to visit three wonderful libraries during our stay:

  • Bibliothèque Marguerite Duras
  • Bibliothèque Louise Michel
  • Bibliothèque publique d’information.

In our meetings we discussed (among other things):

  • the session Exploring an e-book future for the WLIC Congress in Singapore that the Public Libraries Section is co-hosting with Metropolitan Libraries
  • the results of our survey on the words you’d use to describe a public library
  • our satellite for the 2014 WLIC Congress
  • our strategic direction.

Needless to say we also enjoyed the culinary delights that this beautiful city has to offer.


Suzanne Payette and Marion Morgan-Bindon at dinner

Suzanne Payette and Marion Morgan-Bindon at dinner

Annie Dourent and Hitomi Takeuchi at dinner

Annie Dourent and Hitomi Takeuchi at dinner

Our thanks to Annie for all the hard work in pulling the weekend together and for the library staff who gave us such interesting and engaging tours of their facilities.