Category Archives: Content (is Conversation)

Public Libraries & DRM at Wired

Some frank words about Overdrive and the mess that is DRM:

The point of libraries is to make content freely available for the common good, I thought, so these restrictions are a little weird. Physical library cards don’t require a certain type of wallet; why should the electronic ones only work on Windows? I asked Chris Pasco-Pranger, a “willfully unemployed librarian” (his words), to explain the system, and he had some choice words for the OverDrive system.

Here’s how he responded (edited for clarity and length):

“Any patron of a member library can download titles (eBooks, audio, etc.) available from Overdrive to a home PC for a specified loan period. Typically, one approaches the service through a Public Library’s website, for example at Brooklyn Public Library –> eBooks, eVideo & eAudio in the left navbar –> Search the Digital Media Catalog. You can add titles to a cart and then checkout using your library card number. A DRM scheme is applied, so you can only play a given title during the lending period, you can’t burn it to disc, etc.

“The biggest problem (by far) with Overdrive (‘Our strategic technology partners include Microsoft Corporation, Adobe Systems, Inc., and Mobipocket.’) is its lack of support for Macs/iPods. Read the FAQ and weep. Of course, Overdrive would say that it’s Apple that doesn’t support THEM, because, y’know, Overdrive is SO much bigger of a deal than the iPod. Oh, the DRM headaches…

Telling Stories

Via The M Word Blog comes another example of libraries doing interesting things with video:


We love stories at the library and have discovered a wonderful new way to tell them. Millions of others have discovered it too: YouTube. YouTube hosts videos from throughout the world…at no charge.

I love stories too, especially those that share with users, staff and governing bodies how important libraries can be in the lives of users. And here’s the part I really like:

At the library web site, we are using YouTube to help us tell stories about the library and reading.

And a bit about the contest:

This January and February, with sponsorship from First Community Bank, we’re asking everybody in our library community to pick up their cameras and join the visual storytelling fun. People of all ages are invited to upload a 4-minute (or shorter) video to YouTube. Then send a link to us, for entry into one of two categories: “My Favorite Book,” will be for those who want to tell about their favorite book; or “Community Favorites,” about supporting the art of verbal storytelling. This should involve filming a short, uplifting piece about a person, organization or event that has made a difference in the community. Videos can be funny, poignant, clever or cool, and they must be library-appropriate.

This is a perfect example of what David King calls invited participation. (Make sure you read yet another excellent Web 2.0 post from Mr. King) It’s also a perfect example of building community with users via technology.

Denver Public Library YouTube Contest

Denver Public Library YouTube Contest

Some things to note:

Use of YouTube is not only encouraged by DPL but the site is used as an extension of the library’s presence within its community of teens

The same goes for the library’s Teen MySpace page at — where the videos that meet contest criteria will be highlighted!

On so many levels, this gets the library “out there” and in the minds of young people. They’ll market the content, the MySpace page and more by word of mouth.

How open, participatory and decentralized is this? Wowza!

(Thanks to Michael Sauers for the heads up via his most cool Flickr stream.)

Originally uploaded by travelinlibrarian.

CBS has 30 million YouTube Downloads

Via the Hacking Netflix blog come this from Cinematech:

CBS has uploaded more than 300 clips that have a total of 29.2 million views on YouTube, averaging 857,000 views per day, since the service launched on October 18. CBS has three of the top 25 most viewed videos this month (Nov.1–17), including clips from CBS’s Tuesday night hit drama “NCIS,” “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and “The Early Show.” The CBS Brand Channel is also one of the most subscribed channels of all time with more than 20,000 users subscribing to CBS programming on YouTube since the channel launch last month.

Fascinating! Balance that with the Pew Podcast stats. What an intriguing picture. Is YouTube more engaging? More fun? It’s certainly more social!

Videocasting at Delft PL

Delft Public Library

Jaap van de Geer, Delft Public Library ( and blogger at reports on his library’s work with videocasting. A recent trip to Ireland/Dublin/Trinity College for a music festival was not only a great experience but an opportunity to create some videocasts for the library Web site at, see the bottom right of the page. He reported via email: “We also organized an amazing summercamp. That video is also online (no dutch, pure expressions), the response of the kids and their parents was heartwarming. I think videocasting is a tool we should use much much more to appeal to our customers.”

I agree. I call this category here at TTW “Content (is Conversation) because of the shift in content creation we’re seeing right now. Libraries can tap into this trend and create some wonderful, and yes heartwarming, connections with users. Thanks Jaap!

Some Flickr pics of Jaap and the Festival:

TTW Mailbox: Sharing iTunes & Copyright

iTunes Macs: 49,000 songs -- Every CD ripped!

Joshua Zehner, Assistant System Administrator at the Fulton County Public Library in Rochester, IN, writes:

Hey, I was surfing you flickr account and I found those pictures from Cherry Hill Public Library in NJ. I was really interested in the three or four photos of their “Listen Before You Borrow” station. Our library would love to do this expect there is one issue my boss has with it, copyrights. Is it legal to rip your collection onto a pc for everyone to listen to, but yet allow those same CD’s to be checked out at the same time? We would love to implement this station into our library, as long as we can get past this one hurdle. Any information about this would be very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

Thanks Joshus for writing! It seems that Cherry hill has been doing this service a while, it’s very friendly and no one seems to be complaining. That said, i’m really at a loss about whether or not this violates copyright. As a try before you borrow service, it just make the process easier than getting a CD off the shelf, popping it into a listening station player and trying it out. I think iTunes actually protects the music more than haviung folks bring their laptops into the library for a massive ripping session into itunes from CDs in the collection.

I confess: copyright confuses me. I am learning more as I prep for classes and Dr. Kate Marek is guesting in my class in a few weeks to present on the topic (I’ll be all ears), but in my mind, it seems ok. I’d love to hear from others who might help my thinking…

Some links:

Chris Kupec uses iTunes at his library:

John Blyberg on making iTunes work in networked settings:

And Chris Kupec also reports this week: I discovered that the Windows version of my iTunes to OPAC script works with info from the iTunes Store too, not just your own personal library. The AppleScript version doesn’t allow me to get info out of the store. Very strange, but a plus for PC-centric public libraries! Might be a way to push teens to use the library more, if they could play with iTunes at home, and order up the CDs from the library. I also have a version of the script that I modified to help me with CD and movie ordering. Check out Chris’ blog at