A Future for Books: BookServer

Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive)
Keynote
Location: Broadway Ballroom (6th Floor)
Average rating: ***..
(3.25, 12 ratings)

The widespread success of digital reading devices has proven that the world is ready to read books on screens.

As the audience for digital books grows, we can evolve from an environment of single devices connected to single sources into a distributed system where readers can find books from sources across the Web to read on whatever device they have. Publishers are creating digital versions of their popular books, and the library community is creating digital archives of their printed collections. BookServer is an open system to find, buy, or borrow these books, just like we use an open system to find Web sites.

The BookServer is a growing open architecture for vending and lending digital books over the Internet. Built on open catalog and open book formats, the BookServer model allows a wide network of publishers, booksellers, libraries, and even authors to make their catalogs of books available directly to readers through their laptops, phones, netbooks, or dedicated reading devices. BookServer facilitates pay transactions, borrowing books from libraries, and downloading free, publicly accessible books.

Who Benefits?

  • Authors: find wider distribution for their work.
  • Publishers: both big and small can distribute books directly to readers.
  • Book sellers: find new and larger audiences for their products.
  • Device makers: can offer access to millions of books instantly.
  • Libraries: can continue to loan books in the way that patrons expect.
  • Readers: get universal access to all knowledge.

While the BookServer system is still in development by many players, this talk will demonstrate pieces working and discuss how it works.

Photo of Brewster Kahle

Brewster Kahle

Internet Archive

Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and co-founder of the Internet Archive, has been working to provide universal access to all knowledge for more than twenty-five years.

Since the mid-1980s, Kahle has focused on developing technologies for information discovery and digital libraries. In 1989 Kahle invented the Internet’s first publishing system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) system and in 1989, founded WAIS Inc., a pioneering electronic publishing company that was sold to America Online in 1995. In 1996, Kahle founded the Internet Archive which may be the largest digital library. At the same time, he co-founded Alexa Internet which helps catalog the Web in April 1996, which was sold to Amazon.com in 1999.

Kahle earned a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1982. As a student, he studied artificial intelligence with W. Daniel Hillis and Marvin Minsky. In 1983, Kahle helped start Thinking Machines, a parallel supercomputer maker, serving there as a lead engineer for six years. He serves on the boards of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the European Archive, the Television Archive, and the Internet Archive.

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Comments

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Jon Williams
02/24/2010 10:02am EST

Loved this concept (thus the 4 star rating), but can understand other raters that it was not presented in a compelling way.

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