UKSG – Jim Griffin

Spent the last 1.5 days at UK Serials Group in Torquay – a mixture of univeristy LIS people, publishers and suppliers of services/products in scholarly publishing. A clear indication that major change is in the air but few pointers that it’s moving ahead. Our final speaker – Jim Griffin – is the incoming president and is bringing experience from the music industry. He’s exploring that any child should have access to any cultural work, yet we cannot underavlue creativity by having it unrewarded. We are in the time of a bionomic flood – networks behave like biological things. Information is like rivers or the flow of blood. It takes the straightest or most economic course – that’s the natural flow. The river recutting it course may flood existing communities.
There is good in this force. But there are cases where it has deprived creators of a just reward. Our content is at risk from technology – good and bad. We pay lipservice to control, but actually move towards compensation. Actuarial compensation replaces actuarial control. The idea of charging for content is not tenable. And we haven’t yet started the revolution. We shall be awash with wireless digitization. Soon we shall have pervasive digits – all we want – and we shall have no need to carry them around. The future is the just-in-time delivery – not the storage. Delivery will eat distribution. Warehouses are signs of inefficiency.
McLuhan said that we will never understand the media of our time – we are as unconscious as fish of water. We need to look in the rearview mirror to see where we are going.
The 1920’s were when electricity started and the changes were more savage than the dotcom. Music becoming electric was more savage than becoming digital. Television is outrageous dislocation. How did we deal with it then? Speak to the nonagenarians as a resource to understand change.
In the time of Victor Hugo is was unlawful to read books aloud. They formed the first collective licensing organisation for music. We cannot now control the spread of music. Is a robot downloading music something that requires compensation. We live in a time of Tarzan economics – we cling to a vine of product to keep you off the floor. Future is about swinging to the next vine and leave go of the current one.
As a community you have an advantage in having a high female membership. Web 3.0 is about feminising marketing by starting relationships that never end.
Four characteristics:

  • we will be there when we have removed the need for pirating rather than searching for its mechanism. Until then we are in trouble. If the business model depends on stopping people making copies – it becomes impossible. Technology has obviated the mechanism of copyright as an enforceable business.
  • Piecing out ideas in small bits is the antithesis of creativity which is about bundling. Substituting albums with single will not save the music industry
  • You competition is not with pirates but with the clock
  • The universities are they key – any business model must be built on them.

We will have done the right thing when our content feels free even if it isn’t.

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