Taking the Open Road: University Libraries Explore Options

Open Source and University Libraries...what's the future? Here's a possible look into what will happen from ECommerce Times.

As acceptance of open source grows, the next step for university libraries will be to consider open source solutions for their core integrated library system (ILS).

"When OSSWatch works with organizations it is always to arrive at the best decision for them. Many smaller institutions procuring software won't have a large IT department and might not have the staff set to make the skills available to develop and support open source. However, even if they go with an outsourced solution, this could be either open source or proprietary," OSSWatch manager Randy Metcalfe said.

"Open source is not the key feature; the key feature is value for money. "

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Overdrive. Our libraries come up short.

Send a letter to the Boston Public Library

* Send this page to somebody

"I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management."
http://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bpl

Richard Stallman sent a letter to the Boston Public Library (BPL) asking them to abandon the system they currently use to distribute audio books, since this format requires the use of proprietary software. It is illegal in the US to release free software capable of reading these audio books because of the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) measures that are being imposed.

You can help by sending your own letter to the BPL (gref at bpl dot org) and by examining the policies of your own local library. We would be glad to see CCs of any letters you send at campaigns@fsf.org and to hear about any similar policies in place at libraries other than the BPL.

Please keep an eye on our DRM campaign area for future updates about this and other related issues
http://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bpl

Letter to the Boston Public Library
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html

* Send this page to somebody

To the Management of the Boston Public Library,

Don Saklad forwarded me your message which reports that OverDrive Audio Books use "copyright protection technology" made by Microsoft.

The technology in question is an example of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)--technology designed to restrict the public. Describing it as "copyright protection" puts a favorable spin on a mechanism intended to deny the public the exercise of those rights which copyright law has not yet denied them.

The use of that format for distributing books is not a fact of nature; it is a choice. When a choice leads to bad consequences, it ought to be changed, and that is the case here. I respectfully submit that the Boston Public Library has a responsibility to refuse to distribute anything in this format, even if it seems "convenient" to some in the short term.

By making the choice to use this format, the Boston Public Library gives additional power to a corporation already twice convicted of unfair competition.

This choice excludes more than just Macintosh users. The users of the GNU/Linux system, an operating system made up of free/libre software, are excluded as well. Since these audiobooks are locked up with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), it is illegal in the US to release free/libre software capable of reading these audiobooks. Apple may make some sort of arrangement to include capable software in MacOS (which is, itself, non-free software for which users cannot get source code). But we in the free software community will never be allowed to provide software to play them, unless laws are changed.

There is another, deeper issue at stake here. The tendency of digitalization is to convert public libraries into retail stores for vendors of digital works. The choice to distribute information in a secret format--information designed to evaporate and become unreadable--is the antithesis of the spirit of the public library. Libraries which participate in this have lost their hearts.

I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management.
Sincerely
Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
MacArthur Fellow
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html

Overdrive. Our libraries come up short.

Send a letter to the Boston Public Library

* Send this page to somebody

"I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management."
http://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bpl

Richard Stallman sent a letter to the Boston Public Library (BPL) asking them to abandon the system they currently use to distribute audio books, since this format requires the use of proprietary software. It is illegal in the US to release free software capable of reading these audio books because of the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) measures that are being imposed.

You can help by sending your own letter to the BPL (gref at bpl dot org) and by examining the policies of your own local library. We would be glad to see CCs of any letters you send at campaigns@fsf.org and to hear about any similar policies in place at libraries other than the BPL.

Please keep an eye on our DRM campaign area for future updates about this and other related issues
http://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bpl

Letter to the Boston Public Library
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html

* Send this page to somebody

To the Management of the Boston Public Library,

Don Saklad forwarded me your message which reports that OverDrive Audio Books use "copyright protection technology" made by Microsoft.

The technology in question is an example of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)--technology designed to restrict the public. Describing it as "copyright protection" puts a favorable spin on a mechanism intended to deny the public the exercise of those rights which copyright law has not yet denied them.

The use of that format for distributing books is not a fact of nature; it is a choice. When a choice leads to bad consequences, it ought to be changed, and that is the case here. I respectfully submit that the Boston Public Library has a responsibility to refuse to distribute anything in this format, even if it seems "convenient" to some in the short term.

By making the choice to use this format, the Boston Public Library gives additional power to a corporation already twice convicted of unfair competition.

This choice excludes more than just Macintosh users. The users of the GNU/Linux system, an operating system made up of free/libre software, are excluded as well. Since these audiobooks are locked up with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), it is illegal in the US to release free/libre software capable of reading these audiobooks. Apple may make some sort of arrangement to include capable software in MacOS (which is, itself, non-free software for which users cannot get source code). But we in the free software community will never be allowed to provide software to play them, unless laws are changed.

There is another, deeper issue at stake here. The tendency of digitalization is to convert public libraries into retail stores for vendors of digital works. The choice to distribute information in a secret format--information designed to evaporate and become unreadable--is the antithesis of the spirit of the public library. Libraries which participate in this have lost their hearts.

I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management.
Sincerely
Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
MacArthur Fellow
http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html

Overdrive. Our libraries come up short.

Send a letter to the Boston Public Library
                * Send this page to somebody"I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management."http://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bplRichard Stallman sent a letter to the Boston Public Library (BPL) asking them to abandon the system they currently use to distribute audio books, since this format requires the use of proprietary software. It is illegal in the US to release free software capable of reading these audio books because of the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) measures that are being imposed.You can help by sending your own letter to the BPL (gref at bpl dot org) and by examining the policies of your own local library. We would be glad to see CCs of any letters you send at campaigns@fsf.org and to hear about any similar policies in place at libraries other than the BPL.Please keep an eye on our DRM campaign area for future updates about this and other related issueshttp://www.fsf.org/news/letter-to-the-bplLetter to the Boston Public Libraryhttp://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html
                * Send this page to somebodyTo the Management of the Boston Public Library,Don Saklad forwarded me your message which reports that OverDrive Audio Books use "copyright protection technology" made by Microsoft.The technology in question is an example of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM)--technology designed to restrict the public. Describing it as "copyright protection" puts a favorable spin on a mechanism intended to deny the public the exercise of those rights which copyright law has not yet denied them.The use of that format for distributing books is not a fact of nature; it is a choice. When a choice leads to bad consequences, it ought to be changed, and that is the case here. I respectfully submit that the Boston Public Library has a responsibility to refuse to distribute anything in this format, even if it seems "convenient" to some in the short term.By making the choice to use this format, the Boston Public Library gives additional power to a corporation already twice convicted of unfair competition.This choice excludes more than just Macintosh users. The users of the GNU/Linux system, an operating system made up of free/libre software, are excluded as well. Since these audiobooks are locked up with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), it is illegal in the US to release free/libre software capable of reading these audiobooks. Apple may make some sort of arrangement to include capable software in MacOS (which is, itself, non-free software for which users cannot get source code). But we in the free software community will never be allowed to provide software to play them, unless laws are changed.There is another, deeper issue at stake here. The tendency of digitalization is to convert public libraries into retail stores for vendors of digital works. The choice to distribute information in a secret format--information designed to evaporate and become unreadable--is the antithesis of the spirit of the public library. Libraries which participate in this have lost their hearts.I therefore urge the Boston Public Library to terminate its association with OverDrive Audio Books, and adopt a policy of refusing to be agents for the propagation of Digital Restrictions Management.SincerelyRichard StallmanPresident, Free Software FoundationMacArthur Fellowhttp://www.fsf.org/campaigns/bpl.html

three comments

is excessive, to say the least.

Re:three comments

Yes, it is. Brevity is also to be treasured.

Many people at my (former employer) public library don't like overdrive because it does not work with iPods (because of MS DRM).

Re:Overdrive. Our libraries come up short.

Huge issue, thanks for bringing it up. It's easy to understand from a historical perspective how software hedgemony is accepted and unwittingly promoted by our fellow librarians. I've been banging the drum on this for five years at different Access meetings.I've been told many times "I just don't care" by other librarians. "Our job is to supply information" and other nonsense.Go on the site search for this list and search the term DRM => nothing found. Search GNU=> nothing, search Linux=> nothing, search Microsoft=> page after page of weakly related hits.Frankly, as a librarian I find the matter quite depressing.Libraries need to be be paid by proprietary sofware vendors for machines which serve the public as common workstations. An examination of the quality and functionality of proprietary software reveals that it is not unique and its design is simply to hide common knowledge for corpoate benfit which is at odds with our mission as librarians.thanks again

Overdrive. Our libraries come up short.

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