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Virtual Distributed Library

by epoptai (Curate)
on Feb 22, 2001 at 18:20 UTC ( #60194=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I think Albannach is on to something regarding deprecated's book idea, but i don't think we even need libraries. Since everyone has some space for books we could instead leverage the capabilities of this site to construct a Virtual Distributed Library.

Perlmonks successfully facilitates human relationships, people get to know and (insert verb here) each other. Each lender can be their own librarian, choosing who they will lend what to under which circumstances.

Anyone who offers or needs books could construct a list on their homenode using some keyword or phrase. Using Super Search to search homenodes (by checking the users box) one could quickly locate monks who offer or desire books. Then either group would know who to /msg with an offer or request.

Some sell, others just give them away. He puts a "From the library of:" sticker inside, and stamps them with return due dates. She makes chain books by signing inside the cover with a little note asking that it be signed and passed on when sufficiently absorbed.

Super searches that come to mind resemble "books-needed learning perl" and "books-offered mastering expressions".


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
(jcwren) Re: Virtual Distributed Library
by jcwren (Prior) on Feb 23, 2001 at 18:20 UTC

    I'd be perfectly willing to host a "Virtual Card Catalog" on the stats pages for a distributed library.

    Ideally, I would like to use the following format:

    <!-- book-offered:ISBN -->
    <!-- book-offered:ISBN -->
    <!-- book-wanted:ISBN -->
    <!-- book-wanted:ISBN -->
    With one tag for each book offered, or wanted. I'm partial to using the ISBN, since it could be looked up, and titling of books would be consistent. All modern books have ISBNs, so I don't really see this as being a problem.

    That being said, does anyone have any favorite ISBN reference sites that produce parsable HTML, XML, or text?

    I would also considering proposing an optional third tag:

    <!-- book-loaned:ISBN,user=[node_id] -->
    that indicates who has which book. This would allow a potential borrower to /msg someone with a borrowed book and ask when they might be done with it. I recommend using the node_id of the borrower because too many users have funky characters in their names, or have trouble spelling them.

    This is my "I went to bed at 2 AM, got up at 7:30 AM, gotten woken up 3 times during the 5.5 hour period for an ill dog, and I haven't had a complete cup of coffee yet" response. Any suggestions/modifications/additions/this_idea_sucks feedback would be welcome.


    e-mail jcwren

      Actually I think we don't need a DB but just a table somewhere on the site with the list of books available. At least until we have so many books available that we need a DB to list them.

      Plus I think each book in the Book Reviews section lists the ISBN, so you can probably get it from vroom.

      If you really want an ISBN search I found there a search thingie that retrieves the title for a given ISBN, It found the Camel 3, but then the tool went down before I had a chance to test it further :--( I'll keep you posted on whether it also works for less common titles as soon as it comes back).

      Update: the store seems to have a good collection, they had the Camel 3, Web Client Programming with Perl, the MySQL book by Paul Dubois and the XSLT book. They just missed a Unicode book that's about the most arcane book I own.

Re: Virtual Distributed Library
by Blue (Hermit) on Feb 22, 2001 at 18:40 UTC
    This is interesting. How can we make the logistics of it work? You've got a good idea which doesn't involve the head monk with a gun to code anything for determining book availability and needs. Anyone have any ideas how we can transport them cheaply?

    At one point there was some discussion (of questionable seriousness) about setting up the monastery to be non-profit and accept donations. That would mean we could donate books to the monastery, as well as $ for shipping (each what they want to give). The books do not need to be actualy stored "at the monastary" (read: in vroom's closet), instead distributed as discussed.

    =Blue might be eaten by a grue...

      There are no logistics.

      1. You want a book i'm offering and /msg me
      2. I tell you where to send postage and your address
      3. You send postage and your address
      4. I use your postage and send the book to your address
      5. What logistics?

      Update: This is merely an example. The reason for suggesting that each lender be their own librarian is so that some central authority doesn't have to impose inflexible rules, and so every contingency can be met on a case-by-case basis by the parties involved.
        Ah, but how do I know what books you're offering?

        Sure, you could put a section into your personal page, but in order to track down a book, a prospective user would need to look up everyones' personal page. Not very easy, and very demoralising since the vast majority of monks are not offering books yet.

        So does the Monastery set up a virtual library catalogue where interested monks register what they're offering? Actually this could be an interesting idea with possibilities beyond just books...

        If the giver is willing to shell out for the first person (or gives it by hand) then there's an easier way... each pays the postage to the next in the line.

        Quite frankly, how much would it cost to send the Camel book from Ghana to Outer Mongolia?

Re: Virtual Distributed Library
by MeowChow (Vicar) on Feb 23, 2001 at 20:56 UTC
    Your suggestion brings to mind some of the stories my parents told me of life in communist Russia. During the cold war era of the former USSR, any book that had not been approved by government censors, meaning any book that was not sufficiently saturated with communist and Stalinist dogma, was banned from both distribution and private consumption (in an order deny, allow way).

    As resourceful people are want to do when they are deprived of a fundamental right, some managed to smuggle a limited number of books into the country from Western sources (can you imagine, smuggling a book?) Because of their limited supply, books were passed along from person to person after each reading, resulting in the formation of many small underground book-sharing rings. Of course, the motives of the smugglers and borrowers were not that they wanted to have these books as possessions, but that they wanted to absorb the books and disseminate the ideas within them as rapidly as was possible under their regime.

    So, as it happens, your suggestion has a rather intriguing and, I think, honorable historical analogue.

                   s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print

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