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Mirela Roncevic 1 Comment The issue of Digital Rights Management DRM has been around for as long as ebooks have been around—and not only ebooks, but digital content in general, including online journals, movies, TV shows, games, and software.
DRM is usually discussed in the context of copyright and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ofwhich makes circumvention of measures that control access to copyrighted works a civil offense in some cases even a federal crime.
It refers to actual technology—a code or a set of codes—applied to restrict the digital use of copyrighted materials. This means that people buying ebooks, whether for personal or institutional use, are paying for usage, not possession as has been the case for centuries with print books.
When encrypted with DRM, ebooks cannot be easily if at all copied or printed, viewed on multiple devices, or moved from one device to another. Further, they can only be downloaded a certain number of times even when legally bought online and, if necessary, blocked in certain territories around the world or made invisible to users in certain countries.
Such restrictions have given publishers and authors some peace of mind over the past two decades, but they have resulted in many inconveniences for legitimate users, including lay readers who purchase digital content on sites like Amazon and researchers who access digital content through libraries.
These same restrictions, many believe, are one of the essential reasons for the popularity of ebooks in the consumer market is stagnating. Apart from the fact that users tend to prefer print over digital when reading for pleasure vs. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in Januaryonly seven percent of Americans read digital books exclusively, while 39 percent read print books, and 29 percent read both print and digital.
Despite declining ebook sales in the consumer market and an inferior user experience all around, many publishers still maintain that DRM is vital to protect the rights granted to them by law to control how content is sold, copied, repurposed, modified, and publicly performed Dingledy and Matamoros, What Is Digital Management?
Based on the number of titles profiled by GOBI Library Solutions, a major library services vendor, at least 70, academic titles are published annually in the English language alone. Not until recently have publishers started to pay closer attention to the feedback provided to librarians by end users, including students and faculty.
A survey published this spring by Library Journal —whose goal was to investigate academic student ebook experience in four-year colleges, universities, graduate programs, as well as two-year or community colleges—found that 74 percent of students accessing ebooks through libraries believe there should be no restrictions placed on ebooks; 66 percent prefer to use ebooks with no restrictions; and 37 percent have taken a principled stand and only use ebooks that have no restrictions when conducting research.
Given the relatively low number of DRM-free ebooks available to users through libraries in recent years, these stats lead to some worrisome conclusions: The vast majority of scholarly ebooks in U. DRM-related matters have been the topic of countless articles, case studies, online discussions, and conference panels in the past decade.
As the Digital Content and Libraries Group of the American Library Association explains in its online Tip SheetDRM is what enforces the license agreement that libraries make with publishers or ebook aggregators, particularly when it comes to pay-per-use business models like Demand-Driven Acquisition.
As libraries see it, fair use and other exceptions to copyright law that libraries have relied on for decades to be able to loan titles to readers may be blocked by DRM, which has led many to take a firm stand against DRM and put pressure on publishers to come up with better solutions.
Further, libraries oppose the uses of DRM that lock readers to specific ebook formats, arguing that any institution that lawfully acquires content should be able to allow its patrons to read that content on any device and on any technology platform.
Libraries provide access to cultural heritage for multiple generations, but business models enforced by technology jeopardize long-term access to the knowledge products of our society.
My hope is that as the Open Access movement continues to gain momentum more academic publishers will follow in its footsteps and create more DRM-free content available through various channels, not only their own.
What once began as an initiative of non-profit organizations like Knowledge Unlatched and Unglue. It has spread across academic publishing and led to major players e. How does open access affect the usage of scholarly books? In Elsevier filed a legal complaint against Sci-Hub and its founder, alleging copyright infringement.
According to biodata scientist Daniel Himmelstein University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues, who recently investigated the impact of Sci-Hub, the pirate site currently provides access to more than two-thirds of all scholarly articles in the world.
When asked what publishers could do to stop new papers from being added to Sci-Hub, Himmelstein said: The issue is, the more protective the publishers are, the more difficult they make legitimate access, and that could drive people to use Sci-Hub.
This means that titles from a range of publishers are available on an unlimited concurrent user basis, and there are no limitations on printing, saving, or downloading. Further, no sign-in or Adobe ID is required, and no special software is needed for access.
Librarians have the choice between the DRM-free unlimited user version of a title or a limited user model with standard DRM-protection, which may include single user, three user or concurrent access. Publishers have the authority to determine which titles to include, and research shows that DRM-free titles achieve higher use and greater sell-through.
Many publishers saw this opportunity immediately and signed on, and others are taking a wait-and-see approach, or are participating on a more limited, experimental basis. We believe once we have a chance to collect more data, thanks to the early adopters, more publishers will choose to participate with more content.
EBSCO has been working with advisory boards, library and publisher focus groups and end users for over two years to determine how to develop a sustainable approach to DRM-free ebooks via its multi-publisher platform.
Even if a library purchases a package from a large publisher, they may still favor that same publisher when they are selecting individual titles—just because they have DRM-free options.
When a major aggregator like EBSCO incorporates DRM-free titles from a wide range of publishers, big and small, into its platform, publishers now have an avenue to compete. Publishers also have the flexibility to pick and choose which books to make DRM-free when there are circumstances that require this.Ebooks and textbooks each have benefits, but both also have drawbacks.
To determine which is the right choice for you, read on to learn about the. A 4GB tablet filled with 3, e-books weighs a billionth of a billionth of a gram more than if it were empty of data - a difference that is approximately the same weight as a molecule of DNA.
The same number of physical books would weigh about two tons. E-books are becoming a more popular choice among kids, but is high-tech as good as print for the youngest readers?
Find out how they stack up. Here's a rundown on the pros and cons of swapping textbooks for digital versions Ease of useIn , Alex Thayer of th.
4 pros and cons of e-readers vs. textbooks. Kindle Buffet: Find and download the best free books, magazines and newspapers for your Kindle, iPhone, iPad or Android [Steve Weber] on timberdesignmag.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
One of the best things about Amazon's Kindle system is that many popular books are offered completely free of charge during brief promotional periods. Six BuzzFeed employees engage in a vicious debate to decide which books are better, printed or electric.
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