Taking Open Source Publishing Further: Tools from the Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology

Patricia Albanese (Rochester Institute of Technology), Matthew Bernius (Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology), Michael Riordan (Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology), Tona Henderson (Rochester Institute of Technology)
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Today, more content is being created than ever before thanks to free, open-source publishing tools like wikis and blogs. However, much of that content is constrained to the medium it’s created in. For example, there’s no easy way to move a blog from the web to print. Further, the capabilities of these open-source tools are often limited by the software development abilities of the people using them. Drupal, for example, while extremely powerful, also has a steep learning curve. This is all especially the case for individuals and groups involved in lo-fi, community driven web publishing projects.

The mission of the cross-disciplinary Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology is to make publishing easy, allowing content-creators to focus on the end-product rather than the enabling technology. Through its research and open software development efforts, the OPL works to:

  • Extend existing publishing platforms,
  • Enable new forms of publishing and business models, and
  • Empower communities and individuals to easily tell their stories.

At the conference, OPL students and faculty will present their research into open-source publishing and the related software development initiatives:

  • BookIt! – An under development, web-based software application that gathers content from wikis, blogs, and other content repositories platforms and reformats it for publication in other media, using the xml .epub standard as an intermediary form. In our demonstration we will show how content from the community-driven RocWiki can be quickly republished as a printed book. This also highlight’s the OPL’s connection to the Public Knowledge Project and their Open Journal Software.
  • iNews – A module that turns Drupal into a virtually instantaneous, cross-media newspaper platform for documenting events and activities. It allows news to be remotely reported using wireless devices and quickly tagged and reformatted for print output using an XML-based workflow. It also allow immediate integration with applications like Google Earth. We will present how the platform was successfully used at the 2008 Imagine RIT festival to publish a robust website and 4 print editions in less than eight hours, demonstrating a new model for news publishing, and event coverage.
  • Social Networking Game – A software application in which players physically interact with each other through the use of printed stickers featuring customized 2-D barcodes. This project demonstrates how print can be used to bring the intangible space of the internet into the tangible, off-line world. It also provides a model for how digital information can flow into print and then back into the digital space.
  • Open Publishing Guide – A web-based repository of information about on-demand publishing tools, resources and processes. The Open Publishing Guide was created as a layperson’s resource for individuals interested in publishing their own content, but are overwhelmed by the technical aspects of the publishing process. It also provides a research platform for monitoring trends in the self-publishing world and gathering information about barriers to success. We will be presenting our findings gathered from the development and roll-out of this site.

Patricia Albanese

Rochester Institute of Technology

Pat Albanese’s extensive career has been one of exploring the intersection of information and technology. Currently Pat holds the position of Gannet Distinguished Professor in the School of Print Media, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology. Previously Pat served as the Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of Library and Information Technology Services for Mount Holyoke College. In her position, Pat oversaw all library and computing services and provided leadership and strategic direction for the College’s information technology programs. Among her accomplishments at Mount Holyoke College were the introduction of campus-wide wireless services, a content management system, a web site redesign, the introduction of an open source academic technology platform which includes student e-portfolio, institutional repository and digital course management systems and a campus-wide enterprise level system. Prior to Mount Holyoke, Pat led the libraries at Rochester Institute of Technology for over 20 years. Among her accomplishments at RIT were the development of an extensive array of digital information services to the campus–including the transition to digital journals, electronic books, and desktop delivery of articles–and installing the first campus wireless network. In addition, she oversaw the planning, renovation and building of a 150,000 sq ft library building, the addition of Java Wally’s library café, a central community-gathering place on campus. Also at RIT, Pat acted as co-P.I. of an $800,000 NFS grant to encourage young women to study science and technology-based disciplines and taught graduate level classes in information technology. Pat has served as a national and international library and information technology consultant, and sat on several national boards. She holds a BA in Philosophy and Masters Degrees in both Library Science and Information Technology.

Photo of Matthew Bernius

Matthew Bernius

Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology

Matthew Bernius’ research focuses on studying how new media tools alter the way groups communicate, and, in turn, how those changes affect the evolution of said tools. In addition to his role as a co-director and researcher at the Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Matthew is pursuing a dual PhD at Cornell University in anthropology and information systems. Prior starting his PhD, Matthew was a visiting professor at RIT’s School of Print Media. He completed a Masters in the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. Before that, Matthew spent eight years in a variety of internet production, community management, and content strategy roles at Eastman Kodak’s kodak.com, during which time he earned one patent.

In addition to his work with the OPL, he is member of RIT’s Lab for Social Computing, a cross disciplinary center focusing on the use of computing tools to facilitate these social and collaborative interactions.

You can view his personal blog at http://www.waking-dream.com.

Michael Riordan

Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology

Michael Riordan is an Assistant Professor at RIT’s School of Print Media where he teaches coursework relating to the reproduction of content and accurate color between print and publishing production systems. He works closely with publishers, print service providers and creative agencies to help improve all aspects of production workflows and has worked with CGATS and others to create quality assurance mechanisms to support the same. In addition to actively providing training and consulting on related topics and being a regular presenter at industry events such as GraphExpo, Michael has written several papers on related topics and served as co-editor for the Pocket Pal: A Graphic Arts Production Handbook.

Photo of Tona Henderson

Tona Henderson

Rochester Institute of Technology

Tona Henderson is an Associate Professor of Information Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is interested in all aspects of information architecture and XML and is still, in her heart, a librarian.

Sponsors
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • Ingram Industries
  • oXygen XML Editor
  • Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • codeMantra
  • Connotate
  • DPCI
  • Innodata Isogen, Inc.
  • LibreDigital
  • Lulu
  • Malloy
  • Mark Logic
  • Media Services Group
  • Quark, Inc.
  • ReadHowYouWant
  • RSuite
  • Safari Books Online
  • Smashwords, Inc.
  • Sterling Commerce
  • Verso Digital

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at scordesse@oreilly.com

Press and Media

For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at maureen@oreilly.com

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