What is Electronic Publishing?

Now that it is firmly established in the consumer sector, electronic publishing is beginning to demonstrate capabilities that challenge the boundaries between print and digital, still image and video, passive and interactive. Modern digital workflows support all manner of possible publication, from traditional print to digital, web, video, and even interactive content. Building in the full spectrum of potential publishing avenues — print, web, video, mobiles and tablets, and interactives — from the beginning is not only a way to streamline production overall, but also to increase the reach of the materials produced by leveraging the content over a wide range of media. Modern media companies have been at the vanguard of this conversion. Magazine writers, for example, will produce a piece so that it will work in the magazine, on the web, and in video — and the finished product may appear in any or all of those outlets. The reason electronic publishing resides on the mid-term horizon is because educational institutions and their publishing arms generally do not have sufficient staff, infrastructure, and systems in place to manage the workflows for simultaneous publication across multiple media, nor do they typically see the potential in ways that commercial publishers do.

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Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Oct 30, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Academic libraries have subscribed to or provided access to electronic publications for many years. However, the impact has been on activities more associated with research than teaching, e.g. use of electronic journals, although these should have a significant place in student work (in report writing or other project activities). Now e-books are becoming prevalent in academic library collections although there are many difficulties with licensing. While there are may examples of electronic textbook publishing, so far those experiments have not fared well (generally) with students.- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011
  • There is also huge potential in this area for self-created and OER publications in this area. However, there are serious economic and professional limitations around the creation of such content at most colleges and universities. At community colleges, where this kind of demand is theoretically the highest due to the high cost of textbooks relative to our tuition (and the economic means of most of our students), we don't have the staff resources to create content. At the four-year institutions, faculty are often unwilling to create content because of the lack of any sort of incentive, professional (tenure) or economic (commercial textbook publishing), for creating electronically-shared content. While electronic publication theoretically has a huge potential in this area, these "social" barriers will continue to impede its progress as a vehicle for cheaply distributing content. I am optimistic in the long term that the imperatives will overcome the barriers but right now I see a huge impasse here. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 18, 2011\
  • Providing textbooks in a format that students can read them on their cell phones will be a great step forward beyond what is seen as a very research lead area at present. A lot of textbooks already have online components and interactive elements that it makes logical sense to move these towards a completely online/digital format. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 19, 2011
  • Digital Scholarship and Interactive Publishing. Interactive digital publications make possible new levels of digital scholarship, creating opportunities that incorporate both interactivity and multimedia. This type of multi-modal publication has the potential to make visible the ways in which research and science happen. In this way knowledge and insight can be shared with audiences that include experts in specific fields as well as a larger educational audience. - wshapiro wshapiro Nov 20, 2011
  • There is a real opportunity for universities and other institutions to start taking some initiative in producing content outside of the confines of traditional publishing houses - or perhaps in collaboration with them. Tom in his comment above raises the important issue of incentives and these are key. I think we need to start thinking in a broader and more textured way about incentives and ownership. OER''s are great but they do raise the issue of sustainability - a lot of textbook like resources need to be maintained and update. If the author is committed to doing that in an OER framework thats great. But we have run into situations where we paid authors upfront to create content which we then released under a creative commons licence which unfortunately meant that the content wasnt updated. So we have begun to experiment with having the author keep copyright of the content but provide it to our students at a lower cost or with less restrictive usage requirements. - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Nov 20, 2011
  • Flexibility. The ability for authors to publish new versions of a book when new information is available without having to undergo more print cycles and print fees.- Sam Sam Nov 13, 2011
  • - drvdiaz drvdiaz Nov 21, 2011

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Not exactly a missing theme, but an observation: recently, the renowned political German weekly "Der Spiegel" (like many other print magazines) has introduced QR codes as links from the printed magazine articles to further online info, short videos etc. For me personally that is no added value - I either read the magazine online or offline. The idea of reading the magazine and then reaching for the smartphone (which I don´t own - OMG, now I have clearly forfeited any right to be here) to scan the code does not fit in with my reading habits - as yet anyway - helga helga Nov 18, 2011
  • Licensing and ownership issues - there is little coordination between bookstores or others who have generally been the intermediaries for textbooks and libraries, which have provided non-textbook content, in general. The lines are blurring, but practices are not. Various parts of the institution, including individual departments, may be licensing the same content (and paying multiple times) for use in the classroom, outside the classroom, etc. If individuals want to personalize the digital content, e.g. add annotations, what is the mechanism for doing so within the framework of a site license?- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011
  • As we discovered as part of our efforts to create an electronic version of our literary magazine last year, this is far more complex in this day and age than you might expect. There is still a lot of confusion and limitations in the various available formats. Do you create an ePub for mobile devices (iPad, Kindle, etc.)? Do you create a web-only publication using a technology such as Flash? There are compromises inherent in all of these choices and whatever you do you are going to disenfranchise a large section of your potential readers. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 18, 2011~
  • As noted, magazines have taken the lead in the area of digital publishing. Two very good examples of how powerful digital publishing can be are Wired and Martha Stewart Living – ok so they are worlds apart in terms of content, but both provide rich interactive experiences. The problem is that the workflows required to move beyond the flat, tex-only PDF paradigm of digital publishing requires significant resources both in terms of required software and designer/developer expertise. As previously discussed the price tag is frequently greater than what many institutions can afford and the major publishers are slow to adopt. While software such as Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) makes creation of these types of resources possible, there are significant problems that still have to be overcome. As an example, most digital publishing solutions simply render to png or a similar format, making accessibility a nightmare. Typically, these solutions only allow for development of locked-down content that can not be added to – an important feature as user generated content becomes more prevalent. Also, there are significant obstacles to bookmarking, highlighting and note taking. While there are some solutions that are showing promise in one or more of these areas, no one is tackling them all. As the most promising solutions for rich digital publishing are proprietary, and the typical 12 – 18 month corporate development cycle, we are likely a full year and a half before comprehensive, robust solutions come to market. From there it may take up to another 18 months for penetration of more than 15 – 20% of the market. The one caveat here being that there are hints that some of the functionality around the new version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwiches) may allow developers to overcome some of these obstacles – at least on mobile devices. - phil.ice phil.ice Nov 19, 2011
  • Actually creating the publications is quite a complex process at present and there is also the 'which format question as mentioned by tom. Copy protection always comes up when a commercial publisher has a digital product. In education there should be a better licensing model and distribution model, but no one seems to know what that is yet. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 19, 2011
  • Accessibility is a huge but important challenge - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Nov 20, 2011
  • We've seen an increase in social reading sites that have not yet crossed over to academic territory, but is likely on the "horizon." During the e-publishing process, publishers are challenged more than ever to make their content interactive. - Sam Sam Nov 13, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Multi-modal publications will appeal to a broader range of student learning styles and will enable many ways to providing access to or enhancement of content.- JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011
  • Lowering the cost of educational materials while making them more interactive as well as multimedia will ultimately have a huge impact on how we share academic information. - tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 18, 2011
  • Keeping information relevant and up to date will be a lot easier if all you have to do is change it once and everyone gets the changes. Cost is another major factor. - JamieMadden JamieMadden Nov 19, 2011
  • Easier accessibility to content, and more variations of the same content. Hybrid ebooks, where content from one book is published with content for another to create a personalized experience for the learner based on his/her learning needs.- Sam Sam Nov 13, 2011

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

One receiving a lot of attention is the IPad version of The Wasteland, with audio readings from various actors, images of the manuscript, etc.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-waste-land/id427434046?mt=8 - JoanLippincott JoanLippincott Nov 18, 2011

- tom.haymes tom.haymes Nov 18, 2011I think the interactive OER biology book that several colleges in the UC system is a real model for the future of this area.

WFU has hired someone to manage Digital Publishing (in addition to and seperate from our Scholarly Communication Librarian) http://digitalpublishing.wfu.edu/ - lauren.pressley lauren.pressley Nov 19, 2011

South Korea is digitising their entire curriculum. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15175962

  • Case Western Reserve University has created two prototype projects showcasing digital scholarship and interactive publishing. One is with the Law School entitled "Copyright and Crowdsourcing" - content by Jacqueline Lipton, publication developed by a team at Case. The second project is with the Medical School entitled "Spinal Cord Injury and Repair" - research done by Dr. Jerry Silver, publication developed by a team at Case. Both projects were created using Adobe InDesign and were created for multiple tablet formats.- wshapiro wshapiro Nov 20, 2011

Illinois has an etext textbook publishing project - we have 3 textbooks in prouction (serving about 2,000 students per semester currently) with more being planned http://www.cio.illinois.edu/e-Text_Project
the university of Michigan is also exploring publication of textbooks in their library see http://www.lib.umich.edu/spo/index.html
Purdue has also developed some very nice tools to assist in university publication of instructional materials, especially with respect to mobile applications, see their Jetpack project http://www.itap.purdue.edu/studio/jetpack/ - glenda.morgan glenda.morgan Nov 20, 2011

Inanimate Alice is a transmedia project - designed from the outset as a story that unfolds over time and on multiple platforms,
http://inanimatealice.com/ - bdieu bdieu Nov 20, 2011

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