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Thanking my lucky stars that I found time to read today’s Shelf Awareness, which contains many wonderful items and information, including a birthday wish to Jane Austen as well as a link to a wonderful today-only gift from Sourcebooks.

Happy 235th birthday to Jane Austen, an occasion Sourcebooks is celebrating by offering 10 of its Austen-inspired novels and six illustrated versions of her work for free in e-book form today.

I immediately webbed on over to the Austen Prose blog, where I discovered a link-enabled list of ten free (for today only) Jane Austen-related books.  As the Austen Prose blog provides links to the Barnes & Noble version of these books only, I’ve added the links to the Amazon/Kindle versions of the books below, as well as links to both the Amazon and the B&N versions of the six major Austen Illustrated Editions ebooks that Sourcebooks is also offering free today only.

For today (December 16, 2010) only, Sourcebooks publishing company is offering free illustrated e-book editions of Jane Austen’s six major novels.  The Sourcebooks’ editions are unabridged and include the Brock illustrations from the 1890’s.

Here are shortened links to Amazon/Kindle versions of these six novels:

Sense & Sensibility:  The Illustrated Edition:
http://amzn.to/fMJ4Kl

Pride & Prejudice: The Illustrated Edition:
http://amzn.to/fUBjem

Mansfield Park: The Illustrated Edition:
http://amzn.to/f9ekMp

Emma: The Illustrated Edition:
http://amzn.to/hZzlPY

Northanger Abbey: The Illustrated Edition:
http://amzn.to/dTiMfS

Persuasion: The Illustrated Edition
http://amzn.to/ihqb4B

In addition, for today only, Sourcebooks is also offering e-book versions of nine Austen-related titles for free.  Here are the Amazon/Kindle links to the digital versions of these nine books (you’ll find the links to the B&N versions here):

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken:
http://amzn.to/hz7fIM

The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman:
http://amzn.to/g8rfXa

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll:
http://amzn.to/f87U12

What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown:  
http://amzn.to/hIiE7D

The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins:
http://amzn.to/ha7YZQ

The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview:
http://amzn.to/hmCjgh

Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange: 
http://amzn.to/hCKiXI

Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe: 
http://amzn.to/hpQmSW

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds:
http://amzn.to/hruSnk

These same books are also being provided by Sourcebooks at no charge on the Barnes & Noble platform.  As the Austen Prose hasn’t provided the links to the Sourcebooks B&N versions of the six major Austen novels, I’ve included them below.

Sense and Sensibility:  The Illustrated Edition:
http://bit.ly/i1OC2z

Pride and Prejudice:  The Illustrated Edition:
http://bit.ly/eKxUNt

Mansfield Park: The Illustrated Edition:   
http://bit.ly/fYfttr

Emma: The Illustrated Edition
http://bit.ly/i3rDUG

Northanger Abbey: The Illustrated Edition
http://bit.ly/eUINzh

Persuasion: The Illustrated Edition:   
http://bit.ly/gigua7

Sources
Download Free Jane Austen-inspired eBooks on her Birthday, December 16, 2010
http://austenprose.com/2010/12/14/download-free-jane-austen-inspired-ebooks-on-her-birthday-december-16-2010/

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, December 16, 2010
http://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=1353#m11043

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If you’re lucky enough to be a patron of a public library that loans out ebooks via the Overdrive system, AND if you own either an iPhone, an iPod Touch, and/or an iPad, you can now read these borrowed library ebooks on your iPhone, Touch, and/or iPad via the brand new Bluefire Reader app for the iPhone/Touch/iPad.  In the Library Journal article to which I’ve provided a link below, Josh Hadro provides excellent directions for getting the borrowed library ebook files into the iPhone/Touch/iPad via the Bluefire Reader app via email.

First, however, you must establish an Adobe ID, which you can do by webbing on over to the Adobe ID registration page.

Note: Later, if/when you decide to establish ebook accounts with Sony, Barnes & Noble (nook), Kobobooks, and/or independent ebook sellers, you MUST use the SAME email address and password that you used to set up your Adobe ID as your email address and password with these ebook sellers.  (The reason for this is that both the “borrowed” library ebooks and the “purchased” ebooks from Sony, B&N, Kobobooks, etc. use Adobe’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) protocol with their EPUB and PDF files.  Each time you configure one of the above ereaders and/or ebook apps, you will be asked to first authorize the app, computer, and/or ereader by entering your Adobe ID email address and password.

If you’ve been reading library ebooks on a Sony Reader or a B&N nook (or on your computer via Adobe’s Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software for PC or Mac), you’re a step ahead of the game as you’ve already established your Adobe ID.

Next, download the Bluefire Reader app and install it on your iPhone/Touch/iPad. After you’ve downloaded and installed the Bluefire Reader app on your iPhone/Touch/iPad, you’ll be asked to authorize the Bluefire Reader app by providing your Adobe ID email address and password.  You’ll need to have Internet access when you do this so that the Bluefire Reader app can access Adobe’s servers to verify your authorization. (Note: If you plan to use the Bluefire Reader app solely to read non-DRM’d books from sources like the Gutenberg Project, Google Books, the Internet Archive, and O’Reilly Media, you do not need to authorize the Bluefire Reader app with Adobe.  However, if you do plan to use the Bluefire Reader app to read ebooks borrowed from your public library – or to read any of the free ebooks provided by the various ebook sellers at no charge – you will need to authorize your Bluefire Reader app with Adobe.)

To get the borrowed library ebooks into the Bluefire Reader app now installed on your iPhone/Touch/iPad, follow the excellent directions that Library Journal’s Josh Hadro provides at:

http://blog.libraryjournal.com/ljinsider/2010/11/12/library-ebooks-on-the-ipadiphone-no-sync-required/

If you prefer to use the iTunes program on your computer to transfer your books to the Bluefire Reader app on your iPhone/Touch/iPad via a USB sync, you’ll find directions for that procedure on the Mobicomputing site at:

http://mobiputing.com/2010/11/how-to-read-public-library-ebooks-with-drm-on-an-iphone/

Also, you may use the Mobicomputing approach to transfer purchased EPUB and PDF files from the Digital Editions folder on your computer to your iPhone/Touch/iPad device.

Using both of these approaches, I was able to download borrowed library books from two public libraries and to transfer all of the DRM’d EPUB and PDF formatted books that I have purchased over the past 18 months from Sony, Kobobooks, and from various independent and university presses to the Bluefire Reader app on both my iPod Touch and my iPad.

What a delight it is to be able to read ALL of my purchased AND borrowed books on one very portable device (the iPod Touch) as well as on one not-quite-so-portable device (the iPad). By using a combination of ebook apps (the Kindle for iPhone/iPad app, the nook app, the Kobobooks app, Apple’s iBook app, the Stanza app and the Bluefire Reader app) on the iPhone/Touch/iPad, I am finally able to access ALL of my ebooks on ONE device!  Once Bluefire creates an Android version of the Bluefire Reader, I’ll be able to do the same on my trusty DROID.

For portability and ease of reading, I prefer the screen size of the 6 inch Kindle to both the much smaller iPhone/Touch and the much larger iPad.  For me, the dream ereader device would be a 7 inch iPad – or a 7 inch well-designed, reasonably-priced Android tablet.   However, when it comes to reading out-of-doors, the Kindle can’t be beat.  What the Kindle lacks – other than color – is the ability to access borrowed library ebooks. Now, if only Mr. Bezos could find it in his heart to  provide access to borrowed library ebooks on the Kindle itself, he and his Kindle ereader would do both Amazon.com and the reading public a great service.

Adobe Digital Editions

Adobe ID Registration

Bluefire Reader Help & Support

Internet Archive – Ebooks and Texts Archive

Kindle apps

Kobobooks apps

nook apps

O’Reilly Media (ebooks purchased through the enlightened O’Reilly arrive without DRM restrictions)

Overdrive

Sony Reader for PC and Mac (to date Sony has not provided apps for ereader devices)

Stanza apps

 

 

Amazon has just launched a Free Book Collection page, where it gathers together links to “Free classics and out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books available for Kindle.”  Although this information has been available for a long time on other sites, having it pulled together on the Amazon site makes for a more seamless experience for the Kindle user.  Andrys Basten, the wonderful force behind A Kindle World Blog, provides an excellent analysis of what this means to the Kindle community in her post yesterday.

Here’s hoping that Amazon will soon realize that it’s in its best interest to enable Kindle users to download free books from the ebook collections at public libraries to their Kindles. If Sony and Barnes & Noble can figure out how to do this, then surely Amazon can, too.  People who borrow books from libraries also buy books. (And, let us not forget that libraries purchase books based on demand from patrons.)  As it stands now, those of us who wish to purchase ebooks from Amazon AND who also wish to borrow ebooks from libraries AND who wish to read them on an ereader must do so using two different ereader devices.  PC users have an additional option, which is to install Kindle for PC software and Adobe Digital Editions software on their computers, where they can then read both Amazon and borrowed library ebooks from that one appliance.  But, for those of us who prefer to hold the book – be it analog or digital – in our hands, this means taking two giant steps backwards, reading from a desktop or laptop screen instead.

Ebooks borrowed from libraries can only be read on devices and/or software that work(s) with DRM-protected Adobe EPUB and PDF files.  This category includes ereaders like Sony Reader and B&N’s Nook and software like Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) software.  As ADE comes in both PC and Mac versions, patrons who do not own ereader devices have the option of reading the borrowed library ebooks from a computer screen. ADE does not work with the Kindle, nor has Adobe released an ADE app for smartphones yet.

PC users may read Amazon ebooks from their computer screens by downloading and installing the Kindle for PC software.  Mac users, as of this date, don’t have that option because Amazon has not yet made Kindle for Mac available.  Mac users (as well as anyone else) who own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or a Blackberry do have the option of reading Amazon’s ebooks on those devices.  What they can’t do is read borrowed library ebooks on smartphones because neither ADE nor Overdrive (the company that provides the digital delivery infrastructure for 9,000 public libraries) has released an ebook app for the mobile phone platform yet.

The upshot of all of this is that anyone who wishes to read both Amazon ebooks and borrowed library ebooks on a non-computer ereader device is forced to either choose between the two — or purchase two different devices and toggle between the two.  If the iPad enables users to download apps for the Kindle, all other ebook vendors, as well as apps for borrowing library ebooks, then I suspect that many ebook readers frustrated by having to toggle between devices and platforms, will adopt the iPad as their sole ereader.

Of course, there’s a much simpler solution:  all ebooks be published using the same format and be device-agnostic.

The National Archives and Records Administration Web site provides access to the archived version of the Bush WhiteHouse.gov at http://www.georgewbushlibrary.gov/white-house/

Five archived versions of the Clinton WhiteHouse.gov site can be viewed at http://www.clintonlibrary.gov/archivesearch.html

In his Wednesday afternoon, January 21, 2009 article “New Year, New President, New Blogs,” New York Times’ Opinionator columnist Eric Etheridge reports that “Early reviews of the online administration are now coming in, and the site is being found wanting.” Etheridge quotes Dave Winers thoughtful assessment of the initial version of the site’s most glaring shortcoming that it “violates the most basic rule — ‘People come back to places that send them away.’ The White House should send us to places where our minds will be nourished with new ideas, perspectives, places, points of view, things to do, ways we can make a difference. It must take risks, because that is reality — we’re all at risk now — hugely.”

I added the following comment (which at this time the NYT notes is “awaiting moderation”) to the short list of reader comments:

“Like commenter Chris, I’m also disappointed by not being able to locate a fully-functioning archived copy of the Bush WhiteHouse.gov site. According to an August 14, 2008 news release (http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2008/08-139.html) by the Library of Congress, the LOC formed a partnership with the California Digital Library, the University of North Texas Libraries, the Internet Archive, and the GPO “to preserve public United States Government web sites at the end of the current presidential administration ending January 19, 2009.”

The “White House Archives” page (http://www.georgewbushlibrary.com/administration/archives) on the George W. Bush Presidential Center Web site states:.

“Coming Soon! An archived copy of the White House website will be available soon.”

How soon is “soon?”

In the pursuit of transparency and access to historical documents, the current WhiteHouse.gov site should include links to the archived copies of the Bush and Clinton White House sites.”

Archived copies of a number of versions of the Clinton WhiteHouse.gov are housed on the National Archives and Record Administration site and can be accessed and searched via the “White House Web Sites” page of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum site.

It would be easy enough for the web whizzes at the new WhiteHouse.gov to add information about and links to the archived Clinton and Bush WhiteHouse.gov sites. The archived Clinton sites exist, as noted above. Once “soon” arrives, the archived Bush site will also be an easy link. In the meantime, how long before “soon” becomes NOW?

Archives Flash! Just discovered this information on the page entitled “White House Archives” on the George W. Bush Presidential Center Web site.

“Coming Soon!

An archived copy of the White House website will be available soon.”

What date is “soon?”

The following information about the management of the library and museum is included on the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s “Library and Museum” page: “After private funds are raised to construct the facility that will house The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, NARA will oversee the ongoing operation and maintenance of the facility and its contents.”

Versions of the Clinton White House web sites can be viewed and searched on the “White House Web Sites” page of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum site.

According to information provided on the “Research” page of the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, the Clinton Presidential Library is “one of eleven presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.”

At 12:01 pm yesterday (January 20, 2009), the Obama administration’s New Media department replaced the Bush Whitehouse.gov with the Obama Whitehouse.gov site.  In the process, Obama’s Director of New Media, Macon Phillips, launched the Obama White House site with the first blog post entitled “Change has come to WhiteHouse.gov.”

Within minutes of the changeover, Twitter was abuzz with comments about the swiftness of this change, with some laudatory and others somewhat negative.  Comments included ones that noted an improvement in the level of information provided on the new site, others praising the overall excellence of the site’s new graphic design and underlying coding, as well as a few noting dissatisfaction over the lack of interactive features.

Shortly after the changeover, Jason Kottke contributed a blog post comparing the Bush robots.txt file (which “tells search engines what to include and not include in their indexes”) with the streamlined Obama robots.txt code.  This welcome change means that the new Whitehouse.gov site will be more search engine friendly than the old one!

Once the Bush site had been supplanted by the Obama site, many people (including yours truly) went in search of an archival-but-workable copy of the Bush WhiteHouse.gov site.

After a number of searches, however, I was unable to find a link to an archived copy of the Bush Whitehouse.gov site on either the official U.S. government archives site (the National Archives and Record Administration) or on the Library of Congress Digital Collections and Services site.

I did find copies of abbreviated versions of the Whitehouse.gov site from 1996 through March 2008 archived on the Internet Archives site.

In the process of searching for an archived copy of the Bush White House site, I found the 2000 Clinton site archived on the National Archives site. Try as I might, though, I could NOT find a copy of the archived Bush Whitehouse.gov on the National Archives site. Perhaps I’ve been looking in all the wrong places…

On January 19, the Free Government Information (FGI) site posted a call for help capturing “disappearing” government web sites while there’s still time to capture the content.  Anyone smart enough to have saved a copy of the Bush Whitehouse.gov site to his/her own disk, should contact the Free Government Information site staff.

A number of clever web denizens did take screen captures of the Bush’s Whitehouse.gov site approximately 30 minutes before it was replaced by the Obama site.  One of these, entitled Before & After: WhiteHouse.gov, provides a screen capture of the Bush Whitehouse.gov as well as one of the new Obama site. Another, taken at 10:44 am on January 20, 2009, offers a fuller screen shot of the Bush Whitehouse.gov homepage.

The New York Times’ provided an early take on the Obama Whitehouse.gov site in the article “Obama Renovates WhiteHouse.gov” by Saul Hansell.

The Denver Post’s January 20, 2009 article “Whitehouse.gov makes its transition” discusses the fact that the uploading of the new Obama site effectively vanquished access to the Bush files.

According to a quotation from Sharon Fawcett, the National Archives’ Director of Presidential Libraries, that appeared in the FederalNewsRadio article “Inauguration spells change for change.gov” on January 20, 2009, the National Archives does have an archived version of the Bush site.  But where, O where, is it? This inquiring mind wants to know!

On August 14, 2008, the Library of Congress posted the news release “Library Partnership Preserves End-of-theTerm Government Web Site,” which notes plans for dealing with the changeover from one administration to the other.

Mentioned in the August 14, 2008 article are the Library of Congress Web Capture Program and the LOC’s Web Archives (LCWA).  When I checked each of the links provided in the Aug 14, 2008 press release, neither one provided information about or access to an archived Bush Whitehouse.gov Web site. Equally troubling is the fact that the archived copies of congressional Web sites appear to have stopped at 2004 (or, at the very least, links to archived copies are not provided on this page).

Using the email form on the Whitehouse.gov site as well as one on the National Archives and Record Administration site, I sent email queries to both asking where the archived Bush Whitehouse.gov files can be viewed. I haven’t heard back from either site yet.