Monday, July 23, 2007

Steal this book? Don't bother | CNET

Great article, kudos to Gary Price for getting libraries out there.

Steal this book? Don't bother CNET "Steal this book? Don't bother
When it comes to outsmarting the content establishment, your library may be your best accomplice.

Libraries are offering more free search services, database access, articles, photos, eBooks, audiobooks, music and museum passes than ever. Chances are you are buying, subscribing to, or stealing something you can get for free with a library card."

And the big problem with libraries:

he U.S. library system is based on local libraries, consortiums of local libraries, or a state library with services restricted to residents. While it may not seem like a barrier to entry, people do have to make a slight effort by going to a library and showing proof of residency in order to get a library card. But that, too, is changing.

Many libraries, such as the New York Public Library, allow you to apply for your branch library card online and use a temporary password until it arrives by mail.

Several state library systems are waving the library card requirement altogether and using other means to verify residency.

Connecticut and Indiana use a computer's Internet Protocol (IP) address to determine if you qualify as a resident. The site will grant access to any computer that registers as coming from a server within the state. If your IP address is provided outside the state via a service like AOL, the library allows you to enter identifying information to gain a temporary password and then mails you a permanent one.

In Michigan, you can use your driver's license number or state identification number to gain access. Children can use the info of their parent or guardian.

"I think we're going to see more and more of this kind of content available. It's really just a matter of time before it becomes integrated in the way people use and seek information," said Burger.


This is the most frustrating for users. Most users today get services online, in a universal way. However, to use libraries, it is a very localized service. They are tax supported and the service is for very small areas. Many state libraries are going towards access using a universal card or a driver's license. We had a conference in-state to discuss this issue and the best they could come up with was a universal ILL. We need to find a way to make it easier to have access to library services. A change in tax supported services and integrated library systems are needed.

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