An open source server-software developer is working on a project at the New York Public Library (NYPL) that is intended to liberate every part of the electronic book lending system, and thus make reading library ebooks a whole lot better. This interesting news came to us from Boing Boing in their article, “How the New York Public Library made ebooks open, and thus one trillion times better.”

Leonard Richardson makes the point that in the age of the web, there was hypertext that enabled people to contribute to the web in variety of ways. In the age of the app, that is not happening with any kind of success.

However, Richardson’s system is a model of how mission-driven public agencies and nonprofits can create change in online ecosystems that have been dominated by a single, monolithic corporation. It lets anyone improve it at any point in the process. It does let commercial suppliers in, but prevents them from locking libraries, publishers or readers in.

Melody K. Smith

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