How Can A Digital Be Gift?
- Return the Gift? The future of e-books. Digital content seems to correspond to the ideals of the library: it can be reproduced and distributed to a large user base with ease, making information sharing faster and more affordable than at any point in modern history. Yet the e-book format presents a number of challenges to the future of the library and to the ‘open culture’ of previous circulation models it puts into practice. Using a case study from the Goethe-Institut New York Library, this presentation will address the role of digital rights management (DRM) and the problems and promises it holds for independent publishing. Artist David Horvitz will discuss his process of working with a group of artists and independent publishers who wished donate digital formats of their books to the Goethe Institut Library without DRM limitations. Horvitz and the group he represented hoped to make their materials available to library users for an unlimited time-frame and without restrictions on the number of copies available at any one time. Both of these aspects of e-books -- their length of use and edition number -- are currently limited within the e-book system, in which each book is understood as a singular object. Horvitz’ will discuss the obstacles he faced as he attempted an unusually large and generous donation to s library, including the important role played by third-party distributors. Horvitz will propose some alternatives to the current e-book model that should be considered as libraries look to the future of online distribution.