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The future of libraries

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Balazs Bodo

on 6 May 2014

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Transcript of The future of libraries

What is hiding in plain sight?
the future of libraries
patrons and collections in
the age of electronic text archives
International research project led by
Joe Karaganis @ American Assembly
Mapping access in the grey zones:
- open online illegal libraries
- closed online text repositories on campuses
- 'Republic of Attachments'
Thesis #1:
Where legal access channels fail
black markets emerge.

Thesis #2:
In the digital space user innovation is possible and unrestrained (by legal, busines or technological considerations).
Currently we study two public access shadow libraries:

shut down in February 2012 by the publishers
963 454 documents (note: 1 document does not equal 1 book!)
No download data

1.5 million documents (Now >2M)
some circulation data
How do we imagine the future library?
a couple of months ago, just under 1.5 M docs...
We IDd the ~1M docs and filtered out duplicates, different editions of the same work.
We narrowed down the catalog to ~400k books.
We queried:
worldcat for bibliographical records
Amazon.com, barnsandnoble.com for print and e-book availability, prices
Worldcat for e-library availability.
Library.nu analysis
Subject matter analysis is based on 1st, 2nd and 3rd level Dewey decimal categories.
Library.nu subject matter
How many are available through any legal channel? (print/e/used)
access stats
Are new copies available on the market?
Are used copies available on the market?
Legal alternatives leave huge gaps in the supply, both content-wise, format-wise and price-wise
An immense knowledge flow is taking place in the digital underground:
Facilitated by actors with no clear financial motive or sound business model
Operating from the edges of enforcement (Russia, Ukraine)
Harnessing the distributed resources of users as uploaders, digitizers
They transform the operating conditions of local scientific, educational and high tech industry players
Librarians do not seem to be able to control their own fate. They face legal and underground competitors, but have limited freedom to compete.
Users (readers, scholars, students, authors) have the tools to take their fate into their own hands, and they keep creating the services best suited for them.
Bodó Balázs, PhD

Fulbright Visiting Researcher and Fellow
Harvard University
Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Researcher, Marie Curie Fellow
University of Amsterdam
Institute for Information Law
we imagine the library's future to be of its past.
innovation is limited, by:
- institutional inertia
- fear and inability of legal innovation
- conservatism
creating a discrepancy between the possible, the expected and the actual.
E-book pirate libraries not only mark the crisis of book publishing and retail but that of
traditional libraries.
How does the library, imagined by its users, look like?
Are e-copies available on the market?
We may not be able to solve the problem of copyright of piracy, of publishing, of free-riding,
because we have to deal with too many different stakeholders and interests (even within the same group).

But if we are able to re-imagine the library (and give librarians the freedom to innovate) we solve problems of others as well.
Full transcript