PREVIEW: Weinberger, technology, innovation and books which "disappear"

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Bill Densmore

Mar 29, 2011, 11:32:51 AM3/29/11
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To "Beyond Books" participants:

I'm pleased to note that one of the people who will be spending a chunk of time with us on Wednesday evening and Thursday is David Weinberger, a senior fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard.

Many of you know Weinberger as a co-author of the almost-cult-classic bestseller, "The Cluetrain Manifesto." He's the author of two other mainstream books, "Small Pieces Loosely Joined," and "Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Order." Educated as a philosopher, his career includes successful stints in corporate marketing and technology. He writes often about the effect of technology on ideas.

But the reason his participation is especially welcomed is because Weinberger is now expanding a serious interest in libraries. He is now co-director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab at Harvard Law School. The lab implements in software ideas about how libraries can be ever more valuable:

To get a feel for what's on his mind currently, check out some of his posts on the innovation lab's blog:

And particularly this one about the HarperCollins decision to try and impose self-destruct limitations on e-books lending by libraries:

In it, he writes:

"So, why do I say that HarperCollins has lost its soul instead of just criticizing it for this action? Because if you cared about books as vehicles of ideas and not just vehicles of commerce, you would have dismissed with contempt an idea that treats them as evanescent as chatter on a call-in show."

I hope a portion of our Wednesday evening can include a discussion of this question: What happens to public access to knowledge if the containers have to be repurchased repeatedly?


"What's Irreplacable About Books?"
By David Weinberger, (HuffPost, Nov. 22, 2009)

-- bill densmore

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