Thursday, June 4, 2009

27 Things: 250 Words and Podcasts, or Free Information

It's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think... it's all about the information! The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money. It's run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It's all just electrons.

-- [Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) Sneakers (1992)]

If a place gives away information without expecting it back, is it a Library? "Stores" sell information.

I've been experimenting with Podcasts. There are many places which give away podcasts but also sell them. These places will post free audio/video for some, at their discretion, but sell the bulk of their offerings to subscribers. You can search for specific topics but there is no guarantee the podcast is free. There are many free podcasts. There are many free blogs, also. Question the quality.

Without describing the various types of libraries, all have information available to those able to use the library. Membership requirements may limit the ability of people to have the information. Usually, there are restrictions on use of the information, e.g. take-out limits, Reference Use, fines for unreturned materials. With the privilege of use comes the responsibility of use.

As I understand Libraries, they give people a controlled source of information which may not otherwise be available. A possible limitation on Library user getting the information they need may be slight costs, e.g., ILL or printing, or prohibitive costs. e.g., subscriptions to Academic or Business sources (The Wall Street Transcript, $5,000 annually).

Change is in the electronic wind. SPL buys electronic information, then essentially gives it away free. This information is not purchased from a library but from a store. Once the information is given away, it does not go away, but remains available for others. All information, whether electronic or print, has a cost. Cost restricts availability.

Gerald F. Ward

(238 words without the quote)

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