Thursday, November 8, 2007

Media Berkman :: Aaron Swartz on the Open Library Project

Aaron Swartz, co-founder of and Tech Lead for the Open Library project, spoke at this week’s installment of the Berkman Center’s Luncheon Series.

Listen to the MP3 or view the MOV (time: 1:03:39)

Aaron spoke about how, thanks to new technology, the grand vision of a library containing every book in the world is now within our grasp. He discussed how the Open Library Project, a loose collection of technologists, publishers, librarians, and book-lovers, has taken up this challenge by trying to create a website collecting everything we know about books — including library records, publishers’ blurbs, full-text and scans, reviews, and more

Aaron was previously a co-founder of, which was purchased by Condé Nast in late 2006. He was worked on Internet specifications for RSS and RDF and was one of the early team members of the Creative Commons project. He is the author of a number of free software packages and a co-founder of

+ Open Library vision
+ Aaron Swartz’s website

Berkman Fellow David Weinberger live-blogged the lunch, and you can check out his comments and summary here.

Jon Udell's Interviews With Innovators :: Beth Jefferson on BiblioCommons

Originally posted on Jon Udell's Interviews With Innovators on November 30, 2007.

This week’s ITConversations show features Beth Jefferson, founder of BiblioCommons Inc., a company that aims to reinvent and federate the online catalogs of public libraries. She’s thinking very creatively about the social forces that such a federation could marshall. The idea is not to create yet another social network. Instead, she wants to promote the social discovery — and social cataloging — of books, CDs, videos, and other kinds of library resources. Social networks pivot on interpersonal relationships. A BiblioCommons-enabled network would, in a complementary way, pivot on those resources.

How would such a network achieve meaningful scale? Beth has found some data which suggests that if you federated lots of public library catalogs, the combined user population would rival some of the web’s largest sites. Enabling those folks to connect with one another, in the context of resource collections that share common metadata, would be a big deal.

The BiblioCommons software is only now entering its first trial phase. But you can see some of what it does in Beth’s presentation at code4lib, a conference for library technologists.