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Blog - October, 2011

Self-publishing: 5 issues for authors to consider, from Amazon’s Jon Fine and Prof. Tim Laquintano

Alexandra Samuel

At the Merging Media conference today, we heard from Jon Fine, Amazon’s Director of Author & Publisher Relations. Jon’s talk reminded me of the terrific presentation I heard at AOIR from Tim Laquintano, a writing professor at Lafayette College who spoke about the evolution of self-publishing. Drawing on their talks, as well as on a paper by Tim, I have identified 5 key issues that authors need to consider if they are interested in self-publishing:


Out of Print: The Next Generation of Books

Jill Silva

Scanning through the windows of the IDS gallery, one might have seen the glow of several iPads and HD TVs light a unique exhibit. The show, coinciding with the Vancouver International Writers Festival, consisted of several design students' work in the ebook medium. As the monicker indicates, these electronic books tackled the idea of linear text-based narratives in analogue books by expanding it into an interactive digital narrative in constant flux, all based on user-generated content. 

Getting geographically specific, one of the student's projects was based on user-generated content located in Vancouver, BC. Not only are the users were allowed build their own narrative by navigating the map of Vancouver and clicking on different stories, but they are also encouraged to upload their own experiences and narratives based on specific YVR locations. The application also utilizes the iPad's accelerometer by playing with text being revealed when tiled or shifted.


An overview of ebook design possibilities

Alexandra Samuel

This fall, Design professor Jonathan Aitken is teaching a 4th year communications design class on Next-generation Ebook Design. In this class, students will work with content teams to develop design prototypes for 5 different ebook titles. But before digging in, Jonathan asked them to orient themselves to the possibilities for ebook design by exploring the way current ebooks and apps tackle five different kinds of challenges:

  1. Usability, translation and contextual help
  2. User-generated content and annotatation
  3. Social and dynamic content
  4. Web and device integration
  5. Interactivity, location and game mechanics  

Students came back with intriguing examples of innovative approaches to each area, as well as their own sketches of possible functionality or design approaches. In this series we'll share highlights from their work, as well as links to the micro sites that each team created. Explore one area in-depth, or review all five to get your own crash course in the most exciting possibilities for ebook design.


Internet researchers tackle the future of reading & publishing at AOIR

Alexandra Samuel

True confession: I treat conference panels as competitive events. Whenever I’m participating in a multi-speaker panel my secret goal is to “win” the panel. This doesn’t mean I try to take down my fellow panellists: it’s not like wrestling or ice hockey, where you’ve got to crush your opponent in order to take home the gold. It’s more like rowing or cycling or maybe figure skating, where the goal is simply to turn in the best performance.*

Today I did not win my panel, because I had the privilege of being part of a totally kick-ass conversation at AOIR with 3 smart people doing very cool work on reading and publishing in the digital world, fluidly woven together by Janet Salmons. More amazing still, our work all intersected (not something you can take for granted) in ways that were incredibly constructive for my research, and I hope for others’ as well.

So who were these crazy digital rock stars, and what did I learn from them?


10 myths about ethnography, from Tom Boellstorff

Alexandra Samuel

There was a lot to love about anthropologist Tom Boellstorff's dynamic, thought-provoking keynote to the Association of Internet Researchers. But I figured that my design colleagues, many of whom use ethnographic research as part of their design work, would be particularly interested in his list of myths about ethnography. Here's all 10, from a draft text online:

  1. Ethnography is unscientific
  2. Ethnography is less valid than quantitative research
  3. Ethnography is simply anecdotal
  4. Ethnography is undermined by subjectivity
  5. Ethnography is merely intuitive
  6. Ethnography is writing about your personal experience
  7. Ethnographers contaminate fieldsites by their very presence
  8. Ethnography is the same as grounded theory
  9. Ethnography is the same as ethnomethodology
  10. Ethnography will become obsolete

Top Tweets During #SMW at #mappecu

Jill Silva

Did you miss out on all the tweets, posts and panels of Social Media Week Vancouver? Here are the Top tweets from the Mobile + App Summit event at Emily Carr University. Speakers from the event included David Gratton from Work at Play, Amielle Lake from Tagga, James Chutter from StoryPanda, and Joni Rustulka from Nitobi


 Context of use is influenced by a person's access to data. iPad data cheaper in uk so more ppl use it than ppl here #MAppECU
--Shehani Kay


ebook: is it a book?

Glen Lowry
“It’s probably not even a book,” one Emily Carr design student shared, during last week’s briefing on the power and potential of the ebook. As a content partner and SIM centre collaborator, I’d been invited to attend Jonathan Aitken’s upper-level design class to discuss a larger ebook research/production project. The first meeting was about learning [...]

Social e-books as online communities, for AOIR 2011

Alexandra Samuel

Tomorrow I’m off to the conference of the Association of Internet Researchers, an event I’ve always wanted to attend and this time actually get to present to! I’m part of a session on Books and Publishing, where I will be talking about the e-book research I am now undertaking at Emily Carr in collaboration with Jonathan Aitken, Ron Burnett, Celeste Martin and other colleagues.

Our research has morphed a little in the many months since I submitted my session proposal, so here’s a slightly updated version of what I’ll be discussing in this talk.

Would you friend a novel? Social e-books as online communities


Welcome to the SIM Centre

The Social + Interactive Media Centre is a new research centre that supports a wide range of applied social, interactive and design projects. Funded by a 5-year grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the centre offers BC companies a way to tap the design, creative and technical expertise of Emily Carr faculty and students.