Reviews, open books… and ‘We The Media’


A young friend (from our local GNU/Linux users’ group in Goa asked me the question, “So how do I write a review?” In return, I pointed him to Slashdot‘s guidelines for writing reviews.

But, while searching around, I also came across this fascinating section dealing with O’Reilly’s open books. A very interesting concept.

O’Reilly — a US-based publishing firm that offers it’s latest books to Free Software user groups and members willing to review them — explains it thus: “O’Reilly has published a number of Open Books–books with various forms of “open” copyright–over the years. The reasons for “opening” copyright, as well as the specific license agreements under which they are opened, are as varied as our authors. Perhaps a book was outdated enough to be put out of print, yet some people still needed the information it covered. Or the author or subject of a book felt strongly that it should be published under a particular open copyright. Maybe the book was written collectively by a particular community, as in the case of our Community Press books.

And here’s a very interesting book, Dan Gilmore’s We the Media: Grassroots Journalism By the People, For the People.

This book is described thus: “In We the Media, nationally acclaimed newspaper columnist and blogger Dan Gillmor shows how anyone can produce the news, using personal blogs, Internet chat groups, email, and a host of other tools. He tells the story of this emerging phenomenon and sheds light on this deep shift in how we make — and consume — the news. Journalism in the 21st century will be fundamentally different from the Big Media oligarchy that prevails today. We the Media casts light on the future of journalism, and invites us all to be part of it.”

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