Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Sony and others will present a seminar about ePUB etc during the London Book Fair.

I have sent in a question

There is a problem in that ePUB files are being viewd on Stanza and other software for computer and phone screens.

Have people been warned about staring at such screens too long?

This is a question for Stanza obviously but also about the prices for dedicated devices. Can they be afforded? When will the prices become more suitable for a larger audience?

The numbers I have seen suggest that there are more Stanza downloads than sales of Readers. Is there any evidence that this will not continue?

Maybe trhere will be an answer before the 20th April.

The Cromwell room was also used by the LCC Futures Conference so this will be a good test of my theory that access will be easier when the entire ground floor is one space.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The idea of a blended space could apply to Earl's Court. Like blended learning the Web aspect includes travel in time and space. I think it is time to realise that trade shows only take place in UK time, at least for most of the ones I attend. drupa is every four years but even for the printing industry time is not standing still.

Somewhere on the planet another trade show or event covers most things as they happen online anyway. On the blogs for IPEX and drupa I have recently looked at ePUB and the Total Print Expo where I will suggest some slides for the LCC Futures Conference.

It could yet happen that the Print show would happen at the same time as for Publishing. It makes sense to me. Print in Earl's Court 2, all software on the upstairs floor. Apart from anything else there could be a direct escalator from the print equipment to the LCC Futures Conference. walking all the way to the front of the building then usually back again is just not sensible.

The book discussion is linked to print. Digital may be catching up with litho. The eBook production technology relates to workflow for prepress and Web2Print.

But why stop there? Online Information has Oxford University Press and several others who could usefully explain their digital publishing strategy. They could be at Earl's Court also, along with BETT to supply some energy and fill the upstairs with software. Learning Technology could be run alongside BETT at Olympia for a few years till this idea takes off.

Meanwhile I have an apartment on Twinity but they have yet to reach London and may start closer to Soho, moving out slowly.
Oh dear my stats for slideshow downloads are back to normal. It was an April fool joke.

Still, the Scribd numbers for the associated papers are still ok, a lot more people than were there at the time.

So I have done another presentation as draft for the LCC Futures Conference. See blog about drupa.
The Guardian has a report on Business Schools, corporate responsibility, sustainability and the MBA culture that may have contributed to current financial problems.

There are quotes from Hugh Wilmott and Alessia Contu but the word "critique" is hardly mentioned. The impression you might get is of of a fairly mild social responsibility stream within a free market business school. This is a major problem I think. Managers who do go on a critique course could easily be confused by Habermas and Foucault etc. if completely unexpected.

Some clarity would be helpful.

Sage have an offer on journals at the moment, including Management Learning. It seems to be about practice but it is not easy to understand. Might there be an introduction or guide somewhere for managers who might want to relate to this sort of writing?

I am trying to imagine the Lancaster Learning Zone as a blended space. A blended space is a location for learning as remembered or imagined as well as being real if you have the attention span to notice.

I took some photos last year and here are some more from Flickr. Sidelong has made them Creative Commons so it is ok to lift them for this blog. Comment on Flickr is that the "virtual world is strangely grey", looking at the back view of the students on the hoarding. The thing is that official photos have to be unidentified to avoid legal problems. This is especially the case in schools. I think it is likely to represent young people as threatening if you never see their faces.

So a learning zone more Web 2 would have more informal photos, as I guess it.

Still, this learning zone is something towards informal Web access so is well worth thinking about. It is located near the library the bookshop and the newsagent, not to mention the post office. Comparison with a city centre could follow. In Exeter meanwhile LifeBytes has folded but there is still some Web access on desktops. Wireless devices seem to be the growth area.

Blended spaces abound.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Scribd praise post now on Scribd-

In Praise of Scribd
In Praise of Scribd

The new week starts in lean forward mode. The weekend is for leaning back and just accepting what the Sunday Newspaper has to tell us. Digesting food may take longer than usual and there is time for a walk in the sunshine. But then you realise that some things in the papers make no sense at all.

Henry Porter writes a normal sort of opinion for a known writer about the dangers of Google for copyright. "Google is just an amoral menace". Then he turns on Scridb as apparently another one of the "worldwide monopolies that sweep all before them with exuberant contempt for people's rights, their property and the past."

It is true that Scribd offers free downloads of documents for 55 million readers. Whether publishers are taking more action than usual to remove texts from the list is disputed. The main news development that Porter fails to mention is that book publishers including Random House and Simon & Schuster have agreed with Scribd to post promotional extracts from their titles as part of the Scribd resource.

Scribd Partners with Major Publishers to Bring Books, Exclusive Content to Community of 50 Million+ Scribd Partners with Major Publishers to Bring Books, Exclusive Content to Community of 50 Million+ Kathleen Fitzgerald March 18, 2009 Scribd press release

My guess, and this is obviously speculation, is that UK publishers are less keen on the global potential of the Web. they may prefer the protection of regional copyright deals. Look out for announcements of Scribd deals with publishers mainly based in London.

I have been posting documents to Scribd for about a year and welcome the response.


I have done some papers for academic conferences from a practitioner point of view. One about ISO 9000 has had almost 1,500 views and one about Dr Deming is approaching 5,000. Most of the comments are positive.

The design of the website is easy to use. They use Flash for display from any source such as Word or PDF. It loads very quickly compared to launching Word or Acrobat from a browser. The design is not Flash as in Adobe however. The Adobe websites now always feature something animated or load a video whether requested or not. Flash is forced on you all the time. The Scribd site seems to be designed by people who like text documents and classic page layout.

Scribd claims to be the "largest social publishing website". This social aspect allows for groups and collaboration as on a music site. My paper on ISO 9000 has been added to a couple of MBA study groups where I can find other material.

The Guardian today has a story about Cambridge University Press. My guess is that there is more of a Web strategy than appears from this report of the difficulties for litho printing. Problems include the development that "academics who used to rely on hardback books to help climb the career ladder have more recently been turning to the kind of self-publishing and free distribution offered by the internet."

The report has no more detail on open access models but my impression is that only Science Medicine and Technology journals have really engaged with the issues around public access to knowledge. Humanities and Social Science journal publishing is still closed down to university libraries by prohibitive subscriptions. So the leaks of papers in draft and alternate versions that may turn up on the Web are entirely to be welcomed, in my honest opinion.

Open access publishing is often discussed in Information World Review, a recent editorial for example. "What is clear is that open access publishing isn’t going to go away, and discussions to overcome the substantial differences between the different stakeholders must go on." It was recently reported that journal contracts allow more rights than is often supposed to publish draft or alternate versions of papers. My suggestion is that they should be posted to Scribd where they would be easily found. Department archives or personal websites may be as obvious for the spiders.

Previously Oxford University Press has made arrangements with Stanford for digital journal publishing. It may seem too simple to give up on a long tradition of printing and subcontract a new method of publishing. But it may be effective. At Online Information 2008 Highwire Press showed they were extending their platform for other content.

These issues will come up during the London Bookfair. Sony have sponsored a digital space with several presentations. It is possible that the 2009 London bookfair will be remembered as an occasion for progress in digital publishing. At the moment it seems more likely that the noise in the print media will be a continuation of misinformation and self-serving nonsense.

As far as I know there has not been a print review from London of the book "Everything is Miscellaneous" by David Weinberger although he has been a keynote speaker at Online Information with similar content. What is the connection between publishing as technology and the world of book reviews? Not very clear. Here is the result for a search on Scribd - reasonable guide to the issues, might persuade someone to read the book.

Everything is miscellaneous Weinberger Everything is miscellaneous Weinberger Erik Jonker Presentation about the book "Everything is miscellaneous by David Weinberger. The book is really a must-read !


Following the London Bookfair some of this text may be recycled for an OhmyNews story so comment and link suggestions are welcome.