HI Mike, I think you have summed it up well. I wonder if they have considered starting a volunteer branch of BookShare. A big part of BookShare now is done by a volunteer scanning and validating staff. Considering what Carrie said, who appears to do most of the in house scanning, she has scanned about 1,000 books over four years. Time will tell:) Kaitlyn Healing Practitioner "The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life, which is required to be exchanged for it immediately or in the long run." Henry Thoreau -----Original Message----- From: bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:bksvol-discuss-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Mike Pietruk Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005 5:44 AM To: bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Re: need some help--three doors to death Kaitlyn I have much the same background except mine was with CompuServe which included a dozen or so years managing forums for the service. This, of course, required managing and motivating volunteers to do the everyday mundane tasks without which forums just couldn't run. And as the royalties paid out by CompuServe were not that great, it was impossible to pay folks to do that work without which forums would collapse. Bookshare seems to suffer from much the same dilemma. There are not enough administrative paid staff to do the necessary things required to keep the service moving forward smoothly; and now without an energetic force such as Marissa cajoling the volunteers, morale is dropping as evidenced by msgs on the list. I feel for the paid staff as they appear overworked -- and this is beginning to show. I feel for the volunteers who do the grunt work but yet feel frustrated in not getting books approved in a timely manner, having their hard work negated by a mindless automated tool, having books unknowingly returned to step 1 often for nitpicking reasons which could easily be dealt with at the administrative level, et al. I understand the financial dilemma faced by Benetech in their attempts to keep this service going. I also suspect that eventually, as technology evolves, either something better will come along (such as etexts from publishers) or a similar service funded by an entity in a stronger financial position to operate it as it ought to be. Bookshare is a first attempt in what might be called file sharing of books; and much of what we complain about is a result of this learning process which is inevitable at such first attempts. I truly believe Benetech has good intentions and the problems we see are a result of not having the dollars to run the service as it should and could be. The temporary fix is figuring out what can be safely delegated to outsiders and then hiring a volunteer co-ordinator who can co-ordinate and oversee these efforts. If this cannot be done, Bookshare will eventually fall into disarray as the administrators will be more overtaxed with work as more and more books become submitted not only by inside and outside volunteers but also by organizations that BookShare is actively courting.