Missives from the Bat Tower

Doing 23 Things all in the name of Web 2.0

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Thing 8: Project Gutenberg

Thing 8 is focussing on Project Gutenberg. I didn’t know the project name before 23 Things but the concept of free digital access to out of copyright books is not new to me as Google books seemed to be in the headlines quite a bit a while ago, both for possible copyright infringement and also for the fancy book scanners they were using which can turn the pages all by themselves (crazy!). I hadn’t really paid much attention to it before because I was very negative about the idea of an ebook. Why on earth would you want to read something on a screen when you could hold a lovely book in your hand? Friends swore by them and people would brag about how pleased they were with their all new longer battery life – a book with batteries? No thanks.

 However, I have started to change my tune slightly. After iTunes gave away free ebooks in its 12 Days of Christmas promotion I started reading my first ebook. I thought reading it on an iPhone screen would be hell but I was surprised that I actually forgot after a while and just got into the book. So when I found out about Project Gutenberg I though it would be a great opportunity to start reading some Dickens as I’ve only ever read A Christmas Carol although I do enjoy a good BBC adaptation. After a bit of confusion about what format I needed and how to download to iBooks (which was much simpler that the PG website would have you believe) I had Oliver Twist in my pocket and I was ready for my trip to London later that day. It was great to be able to read on the tube without having to lug a book around with me all day so I may well download a few more from Project Gutenberg but I can’t say I’ll be giving up real paper books any time soon.

(c) az1172 Flickr

(c) az1172 Flickr

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Thing 7: Flickr

Week 3 is all about copyright and how we can find things on the web to reuse without any copyright infringement. I’m brand new to blogging and shamefully when I was searching Google images for things to brighten up this blog copyright didn’t cross my mind. Despite the fact that as an Archivist I’m used to the headache of finding copyright holders and gaining permission for users to copy and publish material. I guess I just thought, if Google images has it I can use it. Oops.

 So thing 7 has come as a handy reminder that I should be thinking about these things more carefully and rooting out content which is open for use rather than just taking what I please. Our task for this thing is to add a Creative Commons photo from Flickr to our blog.

Flickr allows to narrow your search down to only those images which are available to use through Creative Commons licences which is really useful and brings up some really great quality images. All the copyright info is there so you can credit the creator properly. Easy peasy.

 A search for ‘archives’ brings up a huge range of images but I thought this one sums up quite nicely how neat and tidy I wish the archive stores looked:

(c) Ohio University Libraries Flickr

(c) Ohio University Libraries Flickr

We do actually have a Flickr account for RHUL archives although this was set up as a test before my time here and hasn’t been added to since. It is something that we are thinking about using more although I’m slightly tentative as I would prefer to have our digital content online in a way that has better links back to our archive catalogue. Having said that, it does open up our content to new audiences and that can only be a good thing.

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