Mar 04 2011
HarperCollins’ recent decision to limit eBooks lending for libraries has played itself out across twitter, traditional news media and library sites as expected. Unfortunately one of the issues no one really addressed is the idea that digital objects might have an actual “lifespan.” Granted, the 26 check-out limit imposed by HarperCollins is artificial, and driven primarily by a desire to maximize profits–i.e., the “right business model.” Nevertheless, the policy should remind us of the fact that digital object do not exist in perpetuity. (Don’t believe me?–try accessing that thesis you wrote using WordPerfect and saved to 5 1/2 diskettes.) The point I am making is that even as we move more material on the web, and become more savvy about our digital material, the issues of interoperability and technological obsolescence remains.