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For a little while I’ve been trying to find some ways of characterising the different generations or ages of library ‘search’ systems.  By library ‘search’ I’ve been thinking in terms of tools to find resources in libraries (search as a locating tool) as well as the more recent trend (athough online databases have been with us for a while) of search as a tool to find information. Library search ages

I wanted something that I could use as a comparison that picked up on some of the features of library search but compared them with some other domain that was reasonably well known.  Then I was listening to the radio the other day and there was some mention that it was the anniversary of the 45rpm single, and that made me wonder whether I could compare the generations of library search against the changes in formats in the music industry.

My attempt at trying to map them across is illustrated here.  There are some connections – both discovery systems and the likes of spotify streaming music systems are both cloud hosted.  Early printed music scores and the printed library catalogue such as the original British Museum library catalogue.  I’m not so sure about some of the stages in between though, certainly the direction for both has been to make library/music content more accessible.  But it seemed  like a worthwhile thing to think about and try it out. Maybe it works, maybe not.


Amazon autorip websiteFascinating news yesterday about Amazon’s decision to give customers who have bought any of some 50,000 CDs the MP3 version of their CD, downloaded to Amazon Cloud Player.  (Read the BBC’s reporting of it and the report from the Guardian newspaper).  At the moment it is only but there seems to be a commitment in the comments made by Amazon to extend it to other places including the UK.  Presumably part of the delay would be the negotiations with record companies about which CDs would be included in the deal.  Looking at the list of US CDs there are a lot that are probably less likely to have been bought by a UK audience.

The process seems to be that the MP3s will be downloaded to your Amazon Cloud Player.  I wondered what that would mean for that tool as there is currently a limit of only 250 downloaded tracks for the free version, but it seems that Autorip MP3s won’t count towards your limit in Amazon Cloud Player. Amazon Cloud Player

It’s a bold move from Amazon and seems partly an attempt to encourage purchasers of CDs to move to MP3s and signup to Amazon’s Cloud Player.  But it very much seems to open up another front where Amazon is directly going up against Apple.   First there was the Kindle Fire competing with the Apple ipad, now there is the Cloud Player vs iTunes.

Amazon Cloud Player doesn’t seem to have a great deal of functionality at the moment but then really I’m not so sure that iTunes has that much either.  I’ve never been all that impressed with the iTunes user experience or useriTunes screenshot interface when you use it in a browser.  And it also seems odd that the Amazon Cloud Player has an iphone/ipod app but doesn’t seem to have an ipad app version.

It’s interesting how there are only really quite basic tools to manage playlists, or use the analytics about what you play.  There’s the expected recommendations based on people who bought this also bought that but there aren’t really any advanced features in terms of recommendations for this artist being like that artist, or if you liked this you might like this artist.

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July 2020

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