Google Wave

Over the weekend I was reminded by a Tweet from a colleague of the importance of Google’s demo late last week of Wave: quite possibly the future of communications on the web. It has been developed right here in Sydney too.

A reliable report comes from Tim O’Reilly and you can read that here. I know that sometimes it is hard to stay up to date with information management technology as new web developments are happening so fast, but it is important and for those of us in libraries I believe it is part of our professional obligation.

Wave seems like a pretty interesting, maybe even exciting development but perhaps the thing I found most interesting in reading Tim’s post was a not-so-related comment a long way down that came about because Tim made reference to a book (Practical Internet Groupware) that he had published online. Someone has a go at Tim for making the book available online behind a “paywall” (i.e. not for free). Tim elegantly and gently reminds us that not everything on the Web can and should be for free. He makes two very wise statements:

It’s urgent for the future of publishing for there to be economic models for digital publishing, or you will find yourself poorer, not richer, as a result.


I’m all for free content when people can make it work, and all for paid content when that’s the only way to make good things happen. You pick the hat to fit the head.

Our goal should be the creation of maximum value to society. Sometimes free creates more value, and sometimes paid creates more value. The smart person, and the smart company, knows how to use both.

Sometimes with blog posts the most interesting and sometimes even the most intellectual debate happens in the comments field and that is part of the real beauty of the social web. That kind of thing doesn’t happen in traditional academic publications.

One comment

  1. annieb

    Mal, thanks for this reference & also the quote from Tim O'Reilly. A long time ago I heard someone make a similar distinction between 'free' and 'freely available'.

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