Saturday, July 21, 2007

Open Books!

Rainy day. A cup of Ethiopia Harar and a book.

Today, while drinking a good cup of coffee, I came across the Open Library Project. At first, I thought the book reader used by the Open Library Project was the GreenStone (a tool developed by a digital library project in New Zealand at the University of Waikato with a long list of collaborators). As a matter of fact, it is not.

It is good to see that there are a lot of initiatives out there aiming to provide people with open access to books from a whole variety of topics. Projects like Project Gutenberg and Open Library are good examples that these efforts are up and running.

Seeing digital books as a component in the content generation/consumption ecosystem, it would be interesting to see the convergence of open libraries and urban-driven search tools. A good sample is the Google Books that allow readers to find the closest library that has a particular title available.

Perhaps, the next generation of such systems will also suggest what is the coffee shop that serves your favorite coffee to accompany the book you are searching for. :-)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Happy 1st of July

For many reasons, my interest over virtual worlds is increasing everyday. Currently, the attention relies on the characterization of large scale distributed systems perspective, than from a business perspective (which is may be very interesting too!).

In the Scientific American's blog, Christopher Mins comments on a talk delivered by Mitch Kapor (among a list of activities, he is also investor and chair of Second Life).

The most interesting aspect of this talk, which seems natural to me, is the suggestion that Kapor (also as a chair of the Mozilla Foundation) defends the creation of open standards for virtual worlds.

It would be cool to think of a protocol design to allow interoperability among virtual worlds. Although this seems to be a classical software engineering problem, the requirements posed by virtual worlds (including the demand for monetary transactions) may be unique enough to create new research opportunities.

By the way, happy 1st of July. :-)