In this video from the Harvard-based Digital Public Library of America, you can see an ingenious catalog interface that should please many an academic.
ShelfLife lives up to the visual metaphor, even though I'd hope that DPLA Beta Sprinters would offer another, even simpler option for casual users at both academic and public libraries. Harvard-simple isn't necessarily public-library simple. Feedback welcome in LibraryCity's comment section.
Maybe I'm aiming too high in the simplicity department. I will say that current public library e-book catalogs tend to err in the other direction--too dumbed down for the research-minded. Meanwhile keep in mind that the interface to the left is just a demo version and that the cat will sensibly cover different media, not just books.
The video features Kim Dulin and David Weinberger of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab, Tom Blake of the Boston Public Library and Karen Cariani of the WGBH Media Library and Archives. With help from Dan Jones, Berkman Center summer interns Ben Naddaff-Hafrey and Meredith Whipple created a polished, informative segment, well-worth your time.
In other news: The DPLA will hold a public plenary meeting in Washington, DC, on October 21--details to come--and meanwhile I'll keep rooting for the organization to open up its routine meetings.
On Oct. 11, a separate DPLA-related conference at Columbia University in New York will be sponsored by the Washington-and-Moscow-based International Library and Analytic Center (this isn't an official DPLA gathering). Among the topics: "Digital libraries in Russia and their availability to the public." Some fascinating comparisons ahead?
Given the reliance of librarians and publishers on each other, I'm pleased that the forthcoming New York conference will include Tom Allen (photo), president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, among other speakers. Time for a publisher to be appointed to the DPLA steering committee? Although pro-library and in favor of less restrictive copyright laws, I think the DPLA will be in for some nasty surprises if it fails to understand the publishers' side.