Jared Wiercinski: learn from file-sharing communities

Hi everyone! I’m interested in what libraries and file-sharing communities can learn from each other.

I became interested in this whole topic when trying to purchase sound recordings that students or faculty had requested at our library. You see, part of my job involves working as the music and dance librarian here at our university. I noticed that there were some things that I couldn’t buy, no matter how hard I looked, because they were simply out of print or were unavailable through second-hand sellers. But I was able to find many of those same requests through peer-to-peer networks using torrent-tracking sites. It made me realize that these sites and communities often play a valuable archival role and provide access to all kinds of important cultural and intellectual work.

I think that many of the positive aspects of these communities and sites are often left out of the discussion, and the conversation frequently shifts in other directions. Some positive aspects that I have discovered are: dedicated user groups, community spirit, and high-quality standards for both media files and the associated metadata. I think it’s worth thinking about the connection between libraries and file-sharing communities and what they can learn from each other.

Jared Wiercinski
Concordia University Library

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There is 1 comment. Add yours.

  1. Aha, yet another extremely awesome subject!

    Two specific points i really enjoy pondering about: the energy people put to designing and developing 100% accurate computer emulators for long-term preservation of old computer software, and the critical, falsifying mechanism of copyright negotiation the abandonware -movement is constantly doing.

    Indeed, all the energy people put to metadata management, collection management and exhibiting their “warez” is quite astonishing.

    The way is see it, many of these “pirates”, abandonware people, emulator programmers, filesharers etc. are *truly* our colleagues… librarians/archivists/museumpeople. Of course we fail to respect them as such, and don’t think much of them, if anything. A pity! They are our brothers and sisters! 🙂

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