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COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET Home

COMMUNET  October 1993, Week 4

COMMUNET October 1993, Week 4

Subject:

teleread.txt

From:

David Rothman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 22 Oct 1993 01:24:38 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (65 lines)

Jeff, if you want to help spread a university level of information to
cities like yours, then you might check out teleread.txt (160K) which I
can e-mail you in a flash.
 
Right now it's rather popular for librarians to envision a system of
local servers housing different electronic collections. It sounds
nice--local control and all that. The *main* result would be different,
however. Those "savage inequalities" of our school systems would go
online and hurt minorites and communities like yours. The Beverly Hills
library system was spending something like $80 per capita on library
materials in 1988, while one rural county in California was spending all
of $3 or so. I suspect you're closer to the latter than the former.
 
Freebies, discounts or grants for local library systems would not be the
solution. The differences between systems would be just too great. And,
of course, major copyright concerns would arise if local libraries put
books online.
 
If you'd care for a look at a different approach--a virtual central
library for rich and poor, with input from librarians in many cities
and better protection for creators--I'd be pleased to send you the file.
 
Interestingly, none other than William F. Buckley Jr. is ahead of the
trendies on this issue. He has already endorsed TeleRead in a column
called  "The TeleRead in Your Future." I've also enjoyed a very
open-minded  attitude so far from Roger Williams of the Washington
office of the  Assocation of American Publishers. No surprises here,
actually. TeleRead, as you'll discover, would protect property rights
better than alternatives by reducing the financial incentives for
bootlegging. It would also make more money available for books and
educational software than under the present system.
 
At the same time, TeleRead would cost-justify itself in ways beyond the
usual ones associated with electronic books. TeleRead is more than a
program: it's an integrated information policy that would drive down the
cost of portable computers and promote the *mass* use of smart
electronic forms to reduce the hundreds of billions of dollars a year
than America spend on paperwork for government at local, state and
federal levels. You've read about "social computing" that companies use
to put computer power in the hands of their clients. TeleRead would be
the ultimate expression of this philosphy. Needless to say, too, it
would be in the  best tradition of reinventing government.
 
Now I'm looking for some other grassroots types to speak up and tell the
public interest community, "If you truly want to protect local
interests, you'll support a good national library offering the
equivalent of paper books--not just the incomplete information on the
Internet."
 
I myself spent part of my life in a factory town, working the poverty
beat for the local paper, and I'm rather sensitive to the issue of
different levels of library support for different communites. TeleRead
reflects both my factory-town days and close to a decade of high-tech
reporting.
 
Best of luck with your own activities.
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David H. Rothman                                  "So we beat on, boats against
[log in to unmask]                                 the current...."
805 N. Howard St., #240
Alexandria, Va. 22304
703-370-6540(o)(h)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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