Ideas to Shake Up Publishing

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 26, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

University publishers look at the challenges of publishing online - but they cannot get past the idea that they have to sell books, nor can they look beyond the infrastructure they have developed. "'You have to develop systems for publishing electronically, the kinds of standards you are going to put materials into, you need document designs, you have to have access control systems to let people in [to search and read], and you have to have authoring tools that tag the stuff in certain ways so they can talk to each other,' she said. So each chapter of a book might need a summary, subject tags and so forth - all in ways that are accepted as an industry standard." Who says? Why didn't the authors of the Ithaka study look at the Gutenberg Project? All you need to publish a book online is a plain-text ASCII file. Everything else is upselling. (The article links to the Ithaka study, but the study is not accessible online without an account.)
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