VALA2012 Session 11 Greenhill

VALA2012 Session 11 Greenhill

No library required: the free and easy backwaters of online content sharing

VALA2012 CONCURRENT SESSION 11: Digitisation
Thursday 9 February 2012, 11:40 – 12:10
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Kathryn Greenhill

Curtin University, WA

Constance Wiebrands

Edith Cowan University Library, WA

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Thursday, February 09, 2012, 11:40 AM AUSEDT, 31 Minutes 24 Seconds.


Twentieth century libraries were funded to provide content to their communities legally, easily and free. In the twenty-first century, new online competitors supply home consumers – legally and illegally – with what libraries traditionally were best at providing to library users – free and easy content. This paper suggests that library staff arguing for the value of contemporary libraries should be aware of the quality, methods and material of “hidden competitors”. Some “hidden competitors” discussed include “blackmarket” journal article sharing, BitTorrenting sites, online textbook sharing sites, self-distributing artists, programs to strip Digital Rights Management from ebooks, Amazon’s ebook distribution and (fan fiction). Possible future models for both “hidden competitors” and libraries – and implications of these – are suggested.

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