Coming! ready or not!

We can play hide and seek as much as we like – but we can’t hide from the real issues of equity and access for long. So of course, that friendly travelling Scot, John Connell, who sees so much of the diversity of opportunity, raised a very important point about access to information, literature and cultural repositories in his post World Library 2.0?

My work with the International Association of School Librarianship has brought me close to this type of problem – albeit not actually personally, but through our work in the organisation supporting libraries the world over. How different is a school library that is actually carried around on the back of a donkey, and then displayed with genuine excitement for all, by putting the books into pockets hanging off a long rope strung between two trees.?

Sadly I was not able to re-nominate for my Executive position, as the cost of attending the international conference was beyond my personal budget this year. The conference will be in Taipei, Taiwan 16-20 July on the theme Cyberspace, D-World, E-Learning:Giving Libraries and Schools the Cutting Edge.

I have spent many years working closely with IASL, and want to acknowlege the encouragement I have received from my school Principals since the late 90s in supporting my involvement with IASL, as the work brought me in touch with the joys and hardships of students and teachers around the world, as well as keeping me abeast of the trends and developments in international librarianship.

I’ve met lots of special people along the way. Gosh, how else would I have been able to have dinner with Stephen Heppell, or lunch with Ross Todd? How else would I have learned how to make a book resource out of single piece of paper, or got a set of decorative reindeer bells from Iceland? The opportunities to develop my own learning, or to be engaged in research and learning of others (e.g.on the editorial board of School Libraries Worldwide) have been pretty good. I finish my active involvement with IASL in July and wish the incoming Vice-President good luck and happy learning 🙂

But I digress……… Back to equity and access. I’m not sure that the ‘googlification’ of the world is the answer, but I do agree that digital solutions will help … so long as there is access, and the opportunity to print, view, or store resources.

The whole thing is a bit loopy really, and solutions hinge on a world that is ‘free and accessible’ – another take on ‘Web 2.0 as platform’.

So some other observations I want to share:

You’ve got to see it to learn it! is a great post from the Infinite Thinking Machine about using digital cameras and Picassa (one of my favourite tools). I regularly recommend free tools to teachers – and wonder why more isn’t being done to promote the diversity and flexibility possible by using tools like these. You can download Picasa for free for Windows and now for Linux. Mac users can use iPhoto in place of Picasa. Google even provides a plug-in for iPhoto that allows Mac users to take advantage of the popular Picasa Web Albums feature to share their photos on line for free. This is a great way to share images of student work, presentations, or field trips with parents using public or private online albums (with permission of course).

My recent visit back to BookYards:Library to the World shows me that there is much more on offer, and that the site is expanding all the time. I suggest you take a look, as it is shaping up as an interesting source for e-books, education links, informatiopn

However, what intrigued me more was the recent post from the Bookyards blog, about Free Books. Did you know that:

…….. there are dozens of websites in Eastern Europe that freely offer tens of thousands of recently published books by popular Western writers in Word, PDF, and/or any other format that a reader may want to browse through. Greylib has been online since 2003. They are a Russian blog that discusses recently published works. But while the site is in Russian, it is easy to locate, browse, and download the hundreds of popular English books (670 at present count) that are in their library. This is done by going to their listing of available English books for downloading….. and selecting your choice of authors from the bottom of the page.

Yes, it is that whole issue of access – and the burning matter of copyright or Creative Commons licencing. It’s so easy to be liberal!

Like the great picture above! I know that it is listed as not being free to copy – but the tehcnology lets me anyway. I’ve often hear people say that it doesn’t matter. I wonder what you think? For me it is about what you claim you do, create or produce yourself – plus I can’t help trying to follow the law.

So I used this photo to make the point that I can beg, borrow or steal if I want to – as many people do. As the image was created by dads on a flickr-hunt, I am hoping that they understand the point I am making – and that I am not out to seek credit or profit from their great little flick. But then I also wonder how many people realise that the default setting on Flickr is for all rights reserved. Would more people share if they knew how?

Photo credit to A Knight who says Ni

One thought on “Coming! ready or not!

  1. Thank you for your support, and thank you for noticing that Bookyards is changing and expanding.

    We have been online for a number of years, but the project has always been one as a hobby and as a learning experience. We took it seriously, but to a point that it would not interfere with our “day jobs”.

    In the past few weeks we have made the decision to completely revamp the site by editing out the old links, expanding what we can offer, and….more importantly, adding a whole slew of new books.
    Technologies have now made it possible to copy and post books at a very low cost (when we started Bookyards one had to type in a book…..no more now).

    An RSS feed will be installed within the week, and our goal is that by the end of summer the site will be significantly improved….. and a must go place for people who enjoy books.

    As you also noticed, we started our blog last month at http://bookyards.blogspot.com/

    You are right about the expansion of book sites in Eastern Europe and India that are offering copyright books. I alone have in my possession over 60 sites (with a total library of about 50,000 modern ebooks) that offer this free service (people are emailing me every day with new additions). The quality of these e-books are excellent, and a definitely sign of things to come.

    Yes….I am planning and preparing to post all of these book sites on the fourth of July weekend.

    Like Napster for music, YouTube for videos ……. access to copyright books will be the next development and news cycle.

    I know the “shit” is about to hit the fan.

    I love the picture……it is so representative of what is ….and what is coming down.

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