Friday, March 03, 2006

The ALA is keeping busy

The president of the ALA has released a statement on the reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT act. The library provisions of the bill that was passed haven't changed much. Which is understandable in an election year when the Democrats are trying to look tougher on security than Republicans.

The ALA also has joined with SUN, IBM and others in support of the Open Document Format. I've spouted my efusive praise on it before so I'll spare you the bromides. The announcement has already rekindled the format religious war (along with the usual Apple/MS bashing).

Both of these stories are pretty interesting for long term impact. The PATRIOT act can eventually irradicate the freedoms necessary for libraries to exist. In essence granting de facto limitless powers for library warrants. The format war can have everyone formally recognize the proprietary MS XML format. Part of the liscense states that rights to use the format expire with the release of a new version and that developers have to reapply for liscense rights. This has implications on the goal of accessibility of documents decades from now.

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