[bksvol-discuss] Re: Are volunteers really that important anymore?

I am not sure that there is anything to be concerned about. When I said I 
was not taking a position one way or another I not only meant on the literal 
question of whether volunteering was becoming obsolete or not, but also on 
whether volunteering is good or bad. However, the point of volunteering is to 
get books into the collection, not for the sake of volunteering nor because 
volunteering is a good thing, no matter how good it might actually be. When 
the goal is accomplished by a means other than the one that has been used 
in the past and when it is being accomplished in a better or more efficient 
way then the old means becomes obsolete. We do not become concerned because 
MP3 players replace record players unless, that is, we make record players 
and have a lot to gain by the continuence of record players even though others 
have a lot to lose if those record players remain the standard. I was only 
wondering if the obsolescence of volunteering for Bookshare is actually 
happening. If others are noticing then I suppose there has been something of a 
conspiracy of silence.

                                                                  "Can a 
nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot." Vladimir Lenin     

                 The Militant: http://www.themilitant.com Pathfinder Press: 
http://www.pathfinderpress.com
Granma International: http://granma.cu/ingles/index.html
                 _

table with 2 columns and 6 rows
Subj: 
[bksvol-discuss] Re: Are volunteers really that important anymore?   
Date: 
8/27/2009 2:41:36 PM Eastern Daylight Time  
From: 
slumpkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Reply-to: 
bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
To: 
bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Sent from the Internet 
(Details) 
table end

Roger, 

Several of us indeed have noticed it and are quite concerned! 

Susan  

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----

From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
[mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Rogerbailey81@xxxxxxx
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 12:36 PM
To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: Are volunteers really that important anymore?

If I had a stack of those gay and lesbian books on hand I can imagine that 
I might send them off to Bookshare and I might be out the postage and the 
cost
of the books if I had bought them, but I would also be out many hours of 
volunteer labor to get them into the collection. I am not particularly 
interested
in children's picture books, so I have not downloaded any, but I would 
think that outsourcers could handle them. I think that Pavi, in fact, said that
the more difficult books have priority for being outsourced. The main thing 
I have noticed, though, is that the proportion of books added to the 
collection
by means other than volunteers is now considerably greater than the 
proportion added by volunteers and that proportion is growing. Also, a good 
many 
books
already in the collection by means of volunteers are being replaced by 
other means. Furthermore, the proportion that are being added by volunteers 
could
, in most cases, be done faster and just as easily or more easily, by those 
other means. No one has mentioned it. In fact, the Bookshare staff is procee
ding
away with more and more innovations for volunteers. What I was really 
wondering is whether volunteering is becoming obsolete and nobody has noticed 
it.

                                                          "Can a nation be 
free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot." Vladimir Lenin     

             The Militant: 
http://www.themilitant.com 
Pathfinder Press: 
http://www.pathfinderpress.com
Granma International: 
http://granma.cu/ingles/index.html
             _

table with 2 columns and 6 rows
Subj: 
[bksvol-discuss] Re: Are volunteers really that important anymore?   
Date: 
8/27/2009 4:25:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time  
From: 
rwiley@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Reply-to: 
bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
To: 
bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Sent from the Internet 
(Details) 
table end

Roger, this is an excellent summary of some of the things I have also been 
thinking. 

When I first started with bookshare a couple of years ago, there were tons 
of books whose rating was fair, and in most cases that designation was kind.
But, the books were available, and for a group starving for reading 
material, they were great to have.  

However, our tastes--and our tolerances--have improved. Where once we would 
accept day-old bread because we were starving, we now want freshly baked 
goods.
(Wow, I must be hungry). 

So, I think your comments about the changing role of the volunteer are 
right on target. There will always be a need for volunteers to do the specialty
books
(such as children's books with pictures), and books of special interest. I 
can't imagine NLS having a whole category of gay and lesbian books, nor can
I imagine the department of education wanting their money going toward that 
end. (I'm not being critical, just can't imagine it happening.) But, we 
volunteers
can make it happen. We can also put books in the collection from those 
publishers who won't cooperate with us (after all, we have the law on our 
side). 

In short, I see the role of the volunteer changing, but not going away any 
time soon. 

There's an old Chinese proverb that says "may you live in interesting 
times." I've always wondered whether that was a curse, challenge or a blessing. 
Whatever
it is, we live in very interesting times with bookshare. 

Bob 

“We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us 
will live on in the future we make,”
Senator Edward M. Kennedy 

block quote
----- Original Message ----- 

From: 
Rogerbailey81@xxxxxxx 

To: 
bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:22 PM

Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Are volunteers really that important anymore?

I am not taking a position one way or another. I just thought I would 
express some thoughts and questions that have been running through my mind. I 
have
been involved with Bookshare for just a little over a year now and have 
seen some considerable changes. I have also surmised changes that came about 
before
I came along. As I understand it the name Bookshare was literal in the 
beginning. That is, people posted the books they had scanned for themselves and
actually shared them with others who were posting books they had scanned 
for themselves. That would have meant that the only source of books Bookshare
had for the most part was from the volunteers. Since then, though, 
publishers have come to contribute large numbers of books. Bookshare is 
acquiring 
books
from donations or from buying them and scanning them in house or 
outsourcing them. It actually appears that the number of books added to the 
collection
by means other than volunteers is considerably greater than those added by 
the volunteers. I have noticed other things being done that volunteers do 
that
may be being done more prolifically by other means than by volunteers. On 
more than one occasion now I have made a quality report for a book that 
contained
an error or errors. To my surprise the whole entire book was promptly 
replaced by an outsourcer. That makes me wonder why we should bother with 
scanning
a BSO. Volunteers are more and more frequently finding that the books they 
intend to scan are being added by outsourcers before the volunteer get a 
chance
to add it. Yes, that means that the volunteer can work on something else, 
but it still remains that work that would have been done by a volunteer is 
being
done otherwise. We were asked for some suggestions about gaps in the 
collection and I made a suggestion. As I scan the new books lists I see that it 
appears,
to my gratification, that my suggestions are being acted on. I am pleased, 
but I cannot help noticing that it is being done without volunteers. If time
is money I wonder if it might be more efficient to donate money to 
Bookshare to buy books and pay outsourcers rather than donate our time. If we 
want 
certain
books in the collection I wonder if it might be faster and more efficient 
to just donate the books rather than put so much of our own labor into them.
As things change devices to accomplish our goals become obsolete when they 
are replaced by better devices and certain jobs become obsolete when better
and mor efficient ways are found to do things. I wonder if Bookshare 
volunteering is a job that is becoming obsolete. Since we have not even heard 
hints
from Bookshare that new volunteers are no longer welcome or that volunteers 
can give up on certain jobs I wonder if Bookshare volunteering is becoming
obsolete and the folks at Bookshare do not even realize it yet. It does 
seem that the volunteers are becoming less important to Bookshare and that 
Bookshare
could probably now do quite well without volunteers while still adding 
books at a rapid rate. I am not saying that is good or bad. I am not saying that
I want it to be like that or that I don't want it to be like that. I am 
just wondering and thinking. What do you guys think about what I have said?  

                                                          "Can a nation be 
free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot." Vladimir Lenin     

             The Militant: 
http://www.themilitant.com 
Pathfinder Press: 
http://www.pathfinderpress.com
Granma International: 
http://granma.cu/ingles/index.html
             _ 
block quote end

Other related posts: