Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20, 2007 - Interent, etc. (for Internet)

Do you ever feel like you're only renting the Internet, rather than owning it? Is your LAN lording it over you? Does information, as Stewart Brand famously proclaimed, really want to be free? As libraries charge more and more for services, it seems like a patron can't just look it up, take it out, or print it off anymore, without forking over a small fortune for paper, ink, and the generalized whirring and grinding of gears. Many libraries used to have the word Free right in their names; you don't see that so much anymore. A more likely semantic addition is the name of a corporation that's helping finance the library, resulting in something like the "Bausch and Lomb Public Library Building" in Rochester, New York. Even just that fleeting feeling of being free at the library is starting to fade away, what with more filtering and less privacy on the web (not to mention, so to speak, the PATRIOT Act). Fortunately, there are organizations dedicated to reversing such trends and providing more "open source" and "open content" opportunities, independent and self-publishing ventures, and the rich, free material found on blogs, wikis, and the like. Interent is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list; other variants in OhioLINK include Intenet and Internt. (Detail from the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont, which celebrated the centennial of its Carnegie building in 2004.)

Carol Reid

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