Friday, February 09, 2007

if:book: ecclesiastical proust archive: starting a community

This fascinating post, if:book: ecclesiastical proust archive: starting a community got me thinking about the nature of my research at UT's ISchool. If I want to study the future of the book, and I want to explore it not only theoretically, but practically, every paper I do while there should be in some way a step forward with that process. Blogging "On the Case for Fair Use" was helpful and I learned a lot, but I don't necessarily want to just repeat that for each paper. What is the next step?

I've been casting around for a paper to write about the Google Book project, now that UT is a participant, and I am just so constantly thinking of how the library can further Library 2.0 projects, somehow it seems like this could integrate into a very nice paper that actually exists in a collaborative space. For example, what are the other research libraries participating in Google Book thinking about the issues that concern me? How do we see Google Book fitting into our overall "library future?" I should be collaborating with them, instead of trying to figure it all out myself. But how interested will they be in collaborating in a more open conversation? If they are exploring Library 2.0, they will certainly be very interested, I would think.

There's the issue of Google's confidential information, which we all must honor, but I am confident that there is much to discuss that does not delve into trade secrets. We have this obligation with all the companies with whom we collaborate on projects that look to the future, or involve us in the company's business operations (beta testing, for example).

Oddly, I have an attorney's role in the Google project, but it's a library's perspective that I want to explore, so my first instinct, which is to approach my lawyer buddies at the other universities, is probably not the right approach. On the other hand, we may have much to discuss too, but it's probably not going to inform my paper.

I also want to talk with the folks at the Institute for the Future of the Book, since they are working so steadily on the applications that would make this kind of collaboration easier, but it seems to me to be too early. I am still focused on absorbing, reading everything I can get my hands on, thinking, talking. I'm far from the point of even having a subject on which to write. But, seeing future step, directions, etc. is very exciting.

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