The State of Digital Media
Tomorrow morning I will be speaking at a state-wide conference on “The State of Digital Media – a Practical Look.” When I think about my own view of digital media right now, I want to laugh and simply point out that it’s in a state of confusion. However, my presentation must – and will – focus on the positive advances made over the past years in the variety of digital formats available to our users and the improvements made in mobile devices used to read and play the digital files. If pressed, however, I’m likely to give a few, candid comments about increasing prices, decreasing availability of titles, confusing paths needed to successfully download files, and a variety of other grievances we suffer as users today. Am I just getting older, or less patient with always being on the bleeding edge of new technology?
I remember back twenty or so years ago when I used to work on computers using a command line and DOS. Trying to find information on the Internet meant using GOPHER and very structured queries. I was so thrilled just to be part of the new age of technology that jumping through hoops to make a very slow computer respond to me was only mildly frustrating. When Windows 3.0 was released, I thought I had died and gone to Microsoft heaven. Why is this new digital media driving me to distraction then? I’ve been adapting so well for so long!
I don’t blame the technology itself. Being able to download digital files to read as e-books or listen to as e-audiobooks is a beautiful thing. Having a variety of slick devices to use with the media is also exciting. It’s the constant changing of policies, ways of downloading, publisher rules and restrictions that make this process unlike others I’ve encountered. I’m not totally blaming the publishing companies. I think OverDrive and Amazon.com have made some questionable decisions that resulted in some of the publishers “punishing” the libraries, who have had no voice in what has happened.
So tomorrow, I’ll be positive and honest in my assessment of the “state” of digital media and hope that commercial interests will get together with libraries and find a solution to many of our problems. Until then, I’m afraid it will continue to be a state of confusion.
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