Librarian: End-to-end catalog

The public library is:

  • free access to books for every member of society
  • library catalog
  • librarian

With books ready to be shared, meticulously cataloged, everyone is a librarian.

When everyone is librarian, library is everywhere.

In any fantasy where Internet meets Public Library it is easy to become enthusiastic and optimistic but the austerity measures together with aggressive protection of intellectual property made the future of every public library all around the world very uncertain. Here at HAIP 2012 we gathered together to do something about that.

The work of Paul Baran showed us that reliability from unreliable parts can be obtained: end-to-end principle.

Because of the heavy damages in the global network of public libraries, we are losing more and more packets. Nevertheless, when end-to-end principle is implemented “all users of the network will provide themselves with some kind of error control and that without difficulty this could be made to show up a missing packet. Because of this, loss of packets, if it is sufficiently rare, can be tolerated.”1 If this works for Internet, it should work for public libraries too.

No single book should ever leave the network of catalogs. Whenever transferred it goes from one end’s catalog to another end’s catalog.

The first piece of our tiling puzzle is the software tool which will allow every end user to easily make and maintain their catalog of books. We found the tool. As for other ten million users, that tool is: Calibre. With Calibre it is easy to be a librarian.

The next step is to connect Calibre librarians among themselves. Usually Calibre librarians run their Calibre catalogs on their personal computers inside of the local area networks. We make tools to allow them to seamlessly connect with each other. When connected together, librarians are able to synchronize their catalogs, recommend and share books. Librarians become librarian-cyberians.

The conversation about the books takes place on conversation platforms (aaaaarg.org), blogs (monoskop.org/log), wikis, reading groups… We build tools which improve every step book makes while going from one catalog to the other.

The tools help in preparation of the bookmagnet link on the recommendation blog so when the book is downloaded it gets imported directly to Calibre; it helps to search and download the big book repositories directly from Calibre (e.g. Library Genesis, Ebookee, Aaaaarg.org…); it helps in contextualizing the book with content from Wikipedia and provides experimental browsing experience for huge catalogs.

The software development covers the whole spectrum of technologies: web browser extensions, javascript libraries, network tools, hacking wikipedia, routers, networked attached storage and embedded devices.

The software development covers the whole spectrum of technologies: web browser extensions, javascript libraries, network tools, hacking wikipedia, routers, networked attached storage and embedded devices.
Bookmagnet working group will propose set of tools, standards and conventions how to share books in the future p2p public library.

 


  1. Davies, D. W., K. A. Bartlett, R. A. Scantlebury, and P. T. Wilkinson (1967). “A Digital Communication Network for Computers Giving Rapid Response at Remote Terminals”. In: SOSP ’67: Proceedings of the First ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles. Gatlinburg, TN. October 1–4, 1967. New York, NY: ACM, pp. 2.1–2.17.