I left the sweltering heat of an Alabama July in search of cool lake breezes in Chicago to attend the American Library Association’s annual meeting last week. What I found was bright sunshine, unseasonably warm temperatures, cabs without air conditioning (what are they thinking?), and a library community ready to brave the heat of new technology that can provide services their patrons need.
Although I’ve visited Chicago and
In the interest of accessing and sharing information as widely as possible, librarians are at the forefront of incorporating digital distribution to the physical book world. SharedBook was at the show to talk with librarians, their vendors, and publishers about using our proprietary platform to create a technology bridge between digital repositories and the digital download or physical book. We combine the aggregation and customization tools of SharedBook with database content, allowing any editor or front-end user to pull from the millions of digitized pages in library and publisher archives, and download or print just the content that is of value.
The show was particularly exciting for SharedBook. Our publisher-partner Encyclopaedia Britannica used our Smart Button™ to aggregate Chicago-related content from their extensive archive and create a guide to Chicago’s geography, history, people and politics. The entire process of selecting content to creating the print-ready file was complete in less than thirty minutes. On the show floor, the Espresso Book Machine pumped out a new 86-page, paperback book in less than three minutes, and they provided over 100 free copies to show attendees. You can see a flip book of the finished product here.
So despite lugging a trench coat all the way to Chicago that never made it out of my bag, I'd have to say the trip was a success. The storm clouds of an economic recession may have tempered travel budgets and industry upheaval in the book world may be cause for long term concern, but after a few days with some remarkably resolute and sensibly shod librarians, things are looking brighter for SharedBook, its partners, and a library industry ready to face the challenges of its future.