Doc Searls came in to give a talk at the PIU during lunchtime today. Unfortunately, the combination of the hottest day of the year so far and the Brazil-Belgium match meant there were too many no-shows for my liking, but Doc gave a provoking discourse on the Internet, the creative commons and government.
What I found most useful was Doc’s description of how metaphors direct so much of our thinking. I’ve read some George Lakoff, but Doc was far more accessible.
Michael Smolens has told me about the Online Computer Library Center, which has the largest metadata repository of book objects in the world. There are over 52 million objects and one is added every 15 seconds. I’m particularly interested in the 18,000 in classical Greek.
I’m unsurprised that book publishers look like making many of the same mistakes as the music industry. According to The New York Times, publishers are battling with what they should recognise as their greatest friends — librarians — in their misguided attempt to deny users easy access to content.
They quote Miriam Nisbet, legislative council for the American Library Association. “What we are really excited about is the potential of the technology to allow greater dissemination of information because getting information into the hands of everybody we can is what we are all about. What we are concerned about is the dark side, which is trying to lock everything up.” But the article continues, “locking everything up is exactly the response from the largest publishers”.
Brad DeLong poses an interesting point on whether significant reform is possible in most European countries. “Europe’s governments have always seemed to me to have overwhelming continuity-of-personnel with the past (as opposed to the circulation-of-elites pattern of American governments), and this seems to me to make major reforms of any kind relatively unlikely.”