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I was thinking some time ago about how libraries could work in Shadowrun.

Sure some places would be using those outdated brick and mortor versions but in a world where online is pervasive and DRM is entirely status quo, how would a library operate? And what would it mean mechanically?

Then I thought about analogous systems in the current world and what I came up with was this: Scubscription datasoft libraries.

A good indexed electronic book is probably best represented by a rating 1 or 2 datasoft, and these libraries would also have datasofts in the form of programs giving you a selection of rating 3 or 4 datasofts.

I can see 2 models being used, a subscription service like say the one which is used by Rhapsody or the Zune store, where most/all the books are available for a monthly fee. You could have stepped fees for higher rating datasofts, and a character with this kind of subscription can basically be assumed to have all reasonably datasofts at the rating of their subscription. Not necessarily on them, but if they need to find something obscure, they have a quick play to search and find out if their library does indeed have that copy of "Ancient Chinese Love Poems and Their Uses Under Heavy Artillery Fire" that they need so badly.

The other model I can see being used is the Net Flix model, in which a character pays a fee and can have a certain number of books/softs out at the same time. I cannot actually think of a justification for why this would exist, except perhaps the library service itself has a licence as to the maximum number of concurrent users for a 'soft and so does actually have limited stock. Once again, the character would be able to pay a stepped fee to have more books out at a time, and if the services does have stock, their is the possibility that they may be out of the more highly rated version.

So? What are the disadvantages?

There are 2.

1) You are going to need to tie this services to a SIN
2) That library is going to have a record of the various books you have been checking out, and some patterns could be a cause for concern...

EDIT: NB This is not really meant as a "what would a good toy for a runner be?", it is more meant as a "How would things work in the 2070s?"
Also, as pointed out, datasofts, not knowsofts.
Well the model that I've used in the past was that the library charged 'X' Nuyen per Rating per day with an additional surcharge for obscure topics and the character had to access the Library's Node.

Perhaps another idea would be for the library to inbed copies of their datasofts with the self erasing code that BTLs use, only keyed to activate once the book was "overdue"...
QUOTE (Ranneko)
A good indexed electronic book is probably best represented by a rating 1 or 2 knowsoft, and these libraries would also have knowsofts in the form of programs giving you a selection of rating 3 or 4 knowsofts.

I don't think it's accurate to say a good electronic copy of a book well indexed and bookmarked is equivalent to a Rating 1 or 2 knowsoft.

1) When using a knowsoft, you just plain know it, no time spent referencing. Take something you know and come up with a detail, it's very different from looking it up in a book.

2) When using a knowsoft when you unload the knowsoft you don't know anything more than when you started. You didn't learn anything by doing it, you were accessing the knowsoft, not the part of your brain that actively responds to practice.

At best a well indexed e-book is a tutorsoft.
Thats why I think Ranneko meant datasoft instead of knowsoft.
Yeah, datasoft would be right, will edit my write up.
I like it. Its good to see people thinking about the future, and thinking realistically about Shadowrun.

All I would change is making it more than rating 1 and 2. With the Matrix, the access to data would be insane. Id bump a public library with no charge to SINers to an average rating of 3-4. Of course, Im sure there are academic/shadow archives with subscription fees and rating 6 datasofts.

On late fees/self destruct mechanism, since it is not a simsense chip, I wouldnt even worry about it. Aside from the paper library (if they even have it anymore), It would just be like accessing a website from home, there is no way to prevent you from looking at it every day for the rest of your life short of them banning you. Thats why you pay at the door, either taxes for the public library, or your subscription for the private.

Im assuming that the overwhelming size of storage required for all that data is what prevents every person who subscribes from walking out after paying the first time with the entire collection on disc.

Just my .02 nuyen
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