October 7, 2013

Wisconsin Blue Book 2013-2014 Available Online

The 2013-2014 edition of the Wisconsin Blue Book is now available on the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau website.

What is the Wisconsin Blue Book?

The State of Wisconsin Blue Book remains the primary one-volume reference source about the state, documenting the organization of the state's three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial).

Typically, each volume includes extensive description and statistics on virtually all aspects of life in Wisconsin, including major sections on the state's population, geography, history, election data, educational resources, social services, finance, agriculture, industry, transportation system, etc. Various useful lists are also provided, such as of statewide associations, news media, local governmental units, post offices, political parties, etc. [from the UWDC]

Each edition contains a feature article. This time, the article is entitled "The Wisconsin Historical Society: Collecting, Preserving, and Sharing Stories Since 1846" A list of other feature articles is available on the LRB website.

Prior editions of the Wisconsin Blue Book are available at the LRB website from the 1995-1996 edition through present. Older editions from 1853 to the 2003-2004 edition are available at the UW Digital Collections website.

May 23, 2013

Judge Rules that Used Digital Items Cannot be Resold by Consumers

The Christian Science Monitor reports that ReDigi, a start-up based in Massachusetts which allows users to resell digital music on their site, was told by a federal judge that producer's rights are violated by such a practice.

According to the law, e-books are considered an original version of the author's work. If you've already bought a version and then sell it to someone else, you're making an illegal copy of the original work (the text you downloaded).

By contrast, according to the law, if you sell a used print book to your friend, you're not making another copy of it, so you're not going against the author's copyright.

ReDigi plans to appeal the decision.

November 16, 2009

Revised Google Settlement on Digital Books

Google has filed a modified version of their controversial books settlement in federal court last Friday.

From the New York Times:

The settlement, of a 2005 lawsuit over Google's ambitious plan to digitize books from major American libraries, outlined a plan to create a comprehensive database of in-print and out-of-print works. But the original agreement, primarily between Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, drew much criticism.

The Justice Department and others said Google was potentially violating copyright law, setting itself up to unfairly control access to electronic versions of older books and depriving authors and their heirs of proper compensation.

The revisions to the settlement primarily address the handling of so-called orphan works, the millions of books whose rights holders are unknown or cannot be found. The changes call for the appointment of an independent fiduciary, or trustee, who will be solely responsible for decisions regarding orphan works.

The Library Journal offers some additional analysis:

The one notable response to criticisms from the library community was an agreement that, as Google representatives had already stated, more than one free public access terminal per library building may be authorized.

The revised settlement also incorporates some other concerns raised by the library community and similarly interested parties. The settlement will allow for Creative Commons licensing, which means that rightsholders--notably academics--can ensure their works are available for no cost. And Google won't "provide personally identifiable information about end users to the Registry other than as required by law or valid legal process."

However, library critics were not pleased by the "vague--and, to critics, fatally inadequate--concession on orphan works. There was also no response to library concerns about pricing of the potentially monopolistic institutional database--an issue that Google representatives say can't be addressed in the settlement."

November 12, 2009

Wisconsin Public Library Consortium Now Offers Text EBooks

The Wisconsin Public Library Consortium has recently added text eBooks to their Digital Download Center, which already contains digital audio books. See the screen shot below. ebook2.jpg

No eBook reader is required to view the eBooks - any computer (Windows or Mac) will do. But they will also work with a Sony Reader, though unfortunately not with the Amazon Kindle or Palm/Pocket PC devices.

A small software download is required to "check out" both digital text or audio books. A public library card and PIN number are also needed.

For more information about the digital text eBooks or audio books, see the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium's Digital Download Center.

Source: TechBits

October 12, 2009

West Releases More Law Books on Kindle

Last week, West announced that a selection of its most popular law book titles are now available for the Kindle eBook reader. For a full list, see the press release. To purchase the West titles for the Kindle, search for them on Amazon.

Source: Due Process: The Georgetown Law Library Blog

September 10, 2009

Google Book Downloader

From Download Squad:

Google Book Downloader is a free utility that lets you download any book that's available in "full view" from Google Books. Of course, most of these books also feature download links right on the web page, but Google Books Downloader lets you queue up multiple jobs and convert all of the downloaded books to PDF files.

The application is available for Windows and requires Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1. You can either install Google Book Downloader or download a portable version which you can simply unzip and run from your hard drive or a removable disk.

In order to queue up a book for download, just open the "add book" dialog in the file menu and copy an paste the book code, link, or ISBN number, click search, and then select the book that shows up. To begin downloading, right click a title and hit "start." and to export a file as a PDF, right-click and hit "export."

You can find more instructions in the tutorial.

Thanks to my colleague, Nancy Paul, for the tip.

July 10, 2009

Amazon's Kindle to Sell PLI Law Books

Wall Street Journal reports that Practising Law Institute is offering many of its titles via the Kindle.

From the article:

A nonprofit group that provides continuing education for lawyers is making its books available for sale on Inc.'s Kindle, underscoring the widening appeal of the digital reader.

The discounts off print prices for digital works from the Practising Law Institute will be much smaller than those typical of Kindle best-sellers [only a 20% discount from the print edition]....

"There are a lot of practical reasons to believe that the digital market may well be more profitable for publishers of legal, medical and educational texts," said Andrew Frank, a vice president at market-research firm Gartner Inc. "Since these texts are reference material, the ability to index them and set up bookmarks, which you can do easily with the Kindle, will save time and money for users."...

The PLI said 67 of its 90 titles are now available in the Kindle format.

Thanks to my colleague, Jenny Zook, for alerting me to this article

July 7, 2009

Coming Soon? Ad-Supported Kindle Books Free with Purchase of Print Ed

I saw this item on Twitter this morning: has filed for a number of patents that hint at ad-supported books for its Kindle e-reader--more specifically, a free or discounted ad-supported e-book for customers who buy the physical version.

Read more at cnet news