An Ambarrassment of Riches

Written by Sam Vaknin

The Internet is too rich. Even powerful and sophisticated search engines, such as Google, return a lot of trash, dead ends, and Error 404's in response torepparttar most well-defined query, Boolean operators and all. Directories created by human editors - such as Yahoo! orrepparttar 108507 Open Directory Project - are often overwhelmed byrepparttar 108508 amount of material out there. Likerepparttar 108509 legendary blob,repparttar 108510 Internet is clearly out of classificatory control. Some web sites - like Suite101 - have introducedrepparttar 108511 old and tried Dewey subject classification system successfully used in non-virtual libraries for more than a century. Books - both print and electronic - (actually, their publishers) get assigned an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) by national agencies. Periodical publications (magazines, newsletters, bulletins) sport an ISSN (International Serial Standard Number). National libraries dole out CIP's (Cataloguing in Publication numbers), which help lesser outfits to cataloguerepparttar 108512 book upon arrival. Butrepparttar 108513 emergence of new book formats, independent publishing, and self publishing has strained this already creaking system to its limits. In short:repparttar 108514 whole thing is fast developing into an awful mess.

Resolution is one solution.

Resolution isrepparttar 108515 linking of identifiers to content. An identifier can be a word, or a phrase. RealNames implemented this approach and its proprietary software is now incorporated in most browsers. The user types a word, brand name, phrase, or code, and gets re-directed to a web site withrepparttar 108516 appropriate content. The only snag: RealNames identifiers are for sale. Thus, its identifiers are not guaranteed to lead torepparttar 108517 best, only, or relevant resource. Similar systems are available in many languages. Nexet, for example, provides such a resolution service in Hebrew.

The Association of American Publishers (APA) has an Enabling Technologies Committee. Fittingly, atrepparttar 108518 Frankfurt Book Fair of 1997, it announcedrepparttar 108519 DOI (Digital Object Identifier) initiative. An International DOI Foundation (IDF) was set up and invited all publishers - American and non-American alike - to apply for a unique DOI prefix. DOI is actually a private case of a larger system of "handles" developed byrepparttar 108520 CNRI (Corporation for National Research Initiatives). Their "Handle Resolver" is a browser plug-in software, which re-directs their handles to URL's or other pieces of data, or content. Withoutrepparttar 108521 Resolver, typing inrepparttar 108522 handle simply directsrepparttar 108523 user to a few proxy servers, which "understand"repparttar 108524 handle protocols.

The interesting (and new) feature ofrepparttar 108525 system is its ability to resolve to MULTIPLE locations (URL's, or data, or content). The same identifier can resolve to a Universe of inter-related information (effectively, to a mini-library). The content thus resolved need not be limited to text. Multiple resolution works with audio, images, and even video.

The IDF's press release is worth some extensive quoting:

"Imagine you'rerepparttar 108526 manager of an Internet company reading a story online inrepparttar 108527 "Wall Street Journal" written by Stacey E. Bressler, a co-author of Communities of Commerce, and atrepparttar 108528 end ofrepparttar 108529 story there is a link to purchase options forrepparttar 108530 book.

E(merging) Books

Written by Sam Vaknin

A novel re-definition through experimentation ofrepparttar classical format ofrepparttar 108506 book is emerging.

Considerrepparttar 108507 now defunct BookTailor. It used to sell its book customization software mainly to travel agents - but such software is likely to conquer other niches (such asrepparttar 108508 legal and medical professions). It allows users to select bits and pieces from a library of e-books, combine them into a totally new tome and print and bindrepparttar 108509 latter on demand. The client can also choose to buyrepparttar 108510 end-product as an e-book. Consider what this simple business model does to entrenched and age old notions such as "original" and "copies", copyright, and book identifiers. What isrepparttar 108511 "original" in this case? Is itrepparttar 108512 final, user-customized book - or its sources? And if no customized book is identical to any other - what happens torepparttar 108513 intuitive notion of "copies"? Should BookTailor-generated books considered to be unique exemplars of one-copy print runs? If so, should each one receive a unique identifier (for instance, a unique ISBN)? Doesrepparttar 108514 user possess any rights inrepparttar 108515 final product, composed and selected by him? What aboutrepparttar 108516 copyrights ofrepparttar 108517 original authors?

Or take Onrepparttar 108518 face of it, it presents no profound challenge to established publishing practices and torepparttar 108519 modern concept of intellectual property. Members register their books, obtain a BCID (BookCrossing ID Number) and then giverepparttar 108520 book to someone, or simply leave it lying around for a total stranger to find. Henceforth, fate determinesrepparttar 108521 chain of events. Eventual successive owners ofrepparttar 108522 volume are supposed to report to BookCrossing (by e-mail) aboutrepparttar 108523 book's and their whereabouts, thereby generating moving plots and mappingrepparttar 108524 territory of literacy and bibliomania. This innocuous model subversively underminesrepparttar 108525 concept - legal and moral - of ownership. It also expropriatesrepparttar 108526 book fromrepparttar 108527 realm of passive, inert objects and transforms it into a catalyst of human interactions across time and space. In other words, it returnsrepparttar 108528 book to its origins: a time capsule, a time machine andrepparttar 108529 embodiment of a historical narrative.

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