Friday, July 31, 2009

More notes from the fortnight in Lancaster. Actually still on holiday in a sort of way. Sidmouth Folk Week is about to start so Exeter is close to a world class event. Too much to miss out on so daily bus trips are possible. Not sure which blog to put this in but more on this later.

For some time I have been thinking about a book called The Going of "The Book" - my life and times. Never quite sure when there is enough material to make an effective case or what the time scope should be. Most of the Verso book The Coming of the Book is online so what happened next could be the Going. Not that the book will vanish completely. The idea of "the book" as an authority is challenged as there are other media and as a new book can be created quite quickly.

Now i think there are three time periods, maybe the basis for different books. "Hello Spiders" is a way to describe a set of web text and/or pages that have been more or less stuck. For a long time the positive links around quality and print have been difficult to demonstrate. So Hello Spiders is mostly about a set of tensions.

In the future there could be forms of communication in which the book is included. The London college of Printing is now the London College of Communication but it is still unclear what this means. Many people I meet just think it is a mistake.

I have some more jottings but these are groups of words that could be slides. So more later.

I am thinking more outside normal time. Maybe these three phases overlap or exist simultaneously for different people.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The hard copy Bookseller also has a section on digital news including a link to Tools of Change blog about how Scribd informs publishers of what is happening on the store. At the London Book Fair there was some worry about Scribd and copyright from journal publishers. Will this change by next year? My hard copy of Information World Review has arrived with a conference report linking to a website about university rankings through visibility of content.
After a bit more checking of links I went to the Exeter Central Library to look at hard copy. The Bookseller now emails me a daily sumnmary of news including a guess that a Kindle will reach the UK before Christmas. The hard copy has an editorial including an opinion that epub support on Kindle is something US publishers should have insisted on. Clearly the bookseller will push for this in the UK. Quite right too. Also saw an FT with a guess that Apple will launch a new iPod some time soon, mostly for movies but also with a guess that book publishers have been in touch. More detail than the references on the web. So once the summer break is over the ebook scene will move on. I am quite happy with the Sony Reader. Some delay while a memory card is moved from a desktop but at least something of a book is associated with delay and consideration. Just pumping a stream into a mobile device is not quite the same, whatever it is. But the world of education will just get used to it, ready or not.
Some web searching to add links

but the name seems to be BIS, Business Innovation and Skills

The Twitter policy on Scribd

Henry Porter previously
Back in Exeter from a fortnight near Lancaster. More later on photos and video from the campus. I did sort of have web access but used only briefly so as not to test the patience of neighbors lending wifi. I took to blogging on paper so this is from Friday 24th-

The DTI has a Twitter policy. This I discovered through a search on the word "Scribd" where a document has been posted. Not called the DTI, someting else, but the building is still in Victoria Street. Over the weekend I will be back in Exeter so can check such things later.

I was prompted to search on "Scribd" by an article in the Guardian Tech pages (Page 6, 23 July). Bobbie Johnson interviewed Trip Adlert in San Francisco. Surely the store will be extended to the UK some time soon. Why else would this turn up? Previously Scribd has been mentioned only negatively by professional writers such as Henry Porter. the literary bit of the Guardian is on a different timescale to the Tech pages on a Thursday. Adler explains that the idea for Scribd started with his father, a neurosurgeon who wanted to publish faster than the normal eighteen months for a journal. "He just wanted to get things up there." So later versions may be more refined, better informed etc. but someting happens quickly. Will the people in Victoria Street think about this and UK universities? My impression is that most acadamic journal publishing is now digital but also more closed off to public space than when there was hard copy in libraries. Scribd has material around trade, industry, whatever but maybe not much of an overlap with journals. not sure about this, just a guess from memory. to be checked later this year. anyway, the education scope on a Guardian Tuesday could include Scribd as well.

I used to think there was a Guardian editorial policy to control the dissonance of various attitudes to the Web. the policy seemed to be to encourage association for a technical audience or online ; to offer maximum resistance in print or for a n audience associated with education or literature. Now i am not so sure there is a policy, just different people with different views. There may be a shift towards the Web eventually. the Readers Editor reports complaints about the reduction in printed pages. Once the defence for this includes the benefit of the website there may be less insistance on a special role for print, though print will continue as an aspect of news organisations.

Meanwhile I think I must have another look at my Twitter feed. It may be a way of linking blogs together.