MonthSeptember 2014

The role of the publisher: Then and Now

Student generated schematics of the role of publishers then (15-20 years ago) and now.

Then:

The role of the Publisher Then (1)

The role of the Publisher Then (1)

The role of the publisher then (2)

The role of the publisher then (2)

Now:

The role of the publisher Now (1)

The role of the publisher Now (1)

The Role of the Publisher Now (2)

The Role of the Publisher Now (2)

How to think about the future of the book

A student generated lists of “DOs and DON’Ts” when thinking about the future of the book. Created by the Fall 2014 class, after some inspiration from assigned readings (week 1) and through a series of group and class discussion.

DOs:

  • Remember that people shape technology; technology does not act/create change on its own
    • We choose what technologies are made and how they’re used – it is a circular and symbiotic relationship, not linear
  • Do think about the possibilities of new technology
    • interactivity and learning possibilities for elementary education
    • text does not have to be constrained to a static screen
    • look to digital as an avenue for improvement rather than a replacement of print culture
  • Do consider the strengths and weaknesses of all mediums
  • Do consider our past experiences with technology and learn from them
    • i.e., other industries: how the music industry dealt with music sharing/piracy
    • i.e., other communications technologies: how we all thought radio/theatre would die when TV was invented
  • Do remain self-aware of your predictions and definitions (“book”) and always fact-check assumptions about past technologies
  • Do consider the socio-political-economic-technical context in which new technologies are developed
    • Remember to think about accessibility: learning curves, digital divide, etc.
    • Consider people’s habits and behaviour (how they interact with technology)
    • Consider compatibility with older forms of knowledge
    • Who decides what gets published and when
  • Do consider the role of institutions and regulations (intellectual property rights, quality control, etc., in the digital world)
  • Do modify language and metaphors to reflect new frameworks
    • Rhetoric of architecture in new libraries reflecting the fluid nature of knowledge
    • No longer considered a “body of work” as this is too static
    • Example: Revamp what a “publisher” is, what a “magazine” is, etc.
  • Do consider multiple forms of published material (novels vs. news vs. textbooks) and how different groups of people interact with it/rely on it
    • Consider how technology relates to the way people think/interact
      • Ex: how children learn (tablets); how people communicate (Facebook)
  • Do be specific about your predictions: make thoughtful speculations
    • Provide evidence
    • Build on precedents
    • Consider other people’s predictions
    • Consider the history of the production of that technology (why it was made, who made it)

DON’Ts:

  • Don’t speak in absolutes (terms, knowledge, future predictions) when discussing the future
  • Don’t equate change with transition (especially don’t panic)
    • Ex: Books aren’t dead, just changing
    • “Don’t assume the future always kills what comes before” – Nunberg
  • Don’t equate knowledge/value and form (“published”, print books, e-books, etc)
    • Don’t dichotomize print VS. digital: these two things will still exist
      • and if print dies it’s because the culture changed, not because digital was invented
      • new technologies affect everything, not just digital
  • Don’t be a technological determinist (optimist or pessimist)
  • Don’t fetishize or let your preferences dictate your views
    • Don’t assume that personal experience/preference is representative
      • Just because you love the smell of books doesn’t mean a decrease in print is a loss for humanity
      • Just because you love your shiny new device doesn’t mean it’s the future for everyone
  • Don’t constrain your notion of what a book is (A book is a book no matter what form it’s in)

 

© 2018 Juan Pablo. Unless otherwise noted, all material on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


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