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Library Conferences – Tech Trends – eBooks

March 30, 2010

Last week the PLA (Public Library Association) met in Portland, Oregon and although library staff couldn’t be there in person, we did participate in an online version of the conference on Thursday and Friday. There were many interesting topics – author talks, working with teens, technology, marketing and security.

I went to two of the sessions – Tech Trends and marketing your library through your web site. Both were interesting although during the tech trends session we had technical difficulties – go figure!

The most interesting thing I heard was talk about eBooks and eReaders. Did you know that eBooks have been around since 1971 – that is when Project Gutenberg started. The first eBook reader didn’t appear until 1998.

I get a lot of questions from our customers about being able to transfer eBooks to their personal eBook Readers and this session confirmed what I already knew and that is there are 15 different formats of eBooks – yes I said 15 different formats. You might be able to see why libraries are having a difficult time determining when and if to make a commitment to a specific format.  It’s like Beta vs. VHS vs. laserdisc, vs. DVD vs. BlueRay vs. whatever comes next – Yikes!

Please do not despair, however, there is always a shakedown when new technologies appear and when we have a clear winner in the eBook format arena I’m sure your public library will be jumping in to make sure you get the content you want and need in the format that works for you.

Jill Wagy
Library Webmaster

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