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Pieces of the Pies: Customized Books, or Slice 'Em and Dice'Em -- Gerry Mckiernan Stephen D. Clark 31 Jul 2000 18:14 UTC

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Pieces of the Pies: Customized Books, or Slice 'Em and Dice'Em
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 12:52:23 -0500
From: Gerry Mckiernan <>

              _Pieces of the Pies: Customized Books_

  On July 18, the New York Times published a most interesting article on
soon-to-be-available customized books

[ "Books by the Chapter or Verse Arrive on the Internet this Fall / by
Lisa Guernsey"

NOTE: A free account must be established to access this item].

Here are some excerpts from the article

 "This fall, ...[The Frommer's  guide to France] and a few hundred
others will take a new form on the Internet. They will be sold in
component parts -- chapters, maps and even paragraphs -- that can be
mixed and matched. Readers will be invited to create customized books
by  picking
pieces of content à la carte from an array of  already-published guides"

"Under this model, books have not only turned into streams of electronic
bits that are downloaded to hand-held devices or printed on demand. They
have also turned into databases -- pools of digital information that
people can extract and
combine on their own terms. "

"Travel books, textbooks, cookbooks and how-to guides will be some of
the first books chopped into interchangeable parts, according to
officials at publishing and software companies experimenting with the

"If a book is going to be chopped into digital pieces for mixing and
matching, those pieces need to be technologically compatible with parts
of other books. And to make those pieces searchable across databases,
companies will have to establish a standard means to identify the
piecemeal content, just as the International Standard Book Number, or
ISBN, enables books to be catalogued, tracked and bought quickly. "

"Most of the progress so far has come from the realm of education and
research. College professors, after all, have been mixing chunks of
editorial content for decades by assigning "course packs" that are
typically compilations of photocopied pages from magazines, anthologies
and nonfiction books.  Now, with advances in copyright-protection
software and the recent drive to create electronic books, many
publishers have embraced the idea of selling individual chapters from
multiple academic books. "

   With these pending scenarios in mind, I am very interested in
initiating a list discussion of the implications and ramifications of
such developments for libraries and librarians and our clientele.
[I am particularly interested in the impacts on selection, acquisition
and cataloging.]

  As Always, Any and All comments, critiques, questions, contributions,
commentary, etc. etc. etc. are Most Welcome!

/Gerry McKiernan
Theoretical Librarian
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50011

       "Life is What Happens While You're Making Other Plans"