A delegation of the American Library Association (ALA), led by its president, Molly Raphael, spent some time recently meeting with senior management at several of the larger trade publishing houses. Those visited included Penguin, Macmillan, Random House, Simon & Schuster and Perseus.
After the meetings, the ALA released a statement that alternately expressed its appreciation for the dialogue and identified some of the areas of both agreement and continued differences. What struck me, though, was the hope in part of Raphael’s assessment:
“It was agreed that we—publishers, libraries, intermediaries and others—operate in an ecosystem that is experiencing profound change. At the same time, a thorough understanding of the ecosystem backed by reliable data is not readily available, and deserves increased attention from ALA and others,” she said.
Okay, it’s just a press release. Work remains. But the leadership of a national association, having spent a week in close quarters with publishers who have shown little love for libraries, walked away saying “to sort this out, we need to create data we don’t yet have.”
Ecosystems, data and collaboration. Mark February 8, 2012 as a good day for data geeks.