Discussions started by Richard Schwier



Bye for now...

It's time to say au revoir, but not really. 

Thanks to Sylvia's leadership, Scott Leslie's generosity and terrific videoconference, Hilda and Diana's hard work, and your great contributions, we are already well along the way to creating an e-book to capture and share the wisdom that came out of this conversation over the past two weeks.  Sylvia provided a great post in a discussion thread below that detailed how we can move forward.

But we need YOU!  Could we persuade you (nag or cajole) to take a look at the Google docs that Hilda and Diana created and see what you can add?  We consider this a project we can continuously update, so it can keep changing for a long time, and we will find a way to keep reminding you.

When you create your first e-pub, share with us what you learned from the experience.  When you trip across a great book or resource, share that too.  If you hear about a project that might benefit others, share it.  If you know of a piee of software that might help somebody, toss it into the Google doc.  

We will be grateful for your input, and of course, we will heap lavish amounts of credit and praise on you for anything you contribute.  You are the authors.

Here are the Google docs.  Dig in! 

Google Docs

  1. Rough, messy, but still organized 
    This Google Doc is to organize chapters, pull relevant quotes from the SCoPE discussion, add links to media, keep track of authors, etc
  2. Clean, readable, and always a work in progress

And as always, and on behalf of the team that managed the conversation over the last fortnight, thank you so much for joining us and for sharing your ideas.  See you on the other side!



We've had a great discussion about how we use ebooks, about how we make them, and what they may mean to us looking forward. Well, let's have a little fun imagining what e-books might become.  Let's really go out on a limb with this idea and create a wish list of what we wish an e-book might do.

For example, I would really love it if e-books could start taking advantage of augmented reality in the future. You probably already know about augmented reality -- the mashup of real-world and computer generated material to build some kind of composite treatment.  

A-R example of information overlay

In the tradition of "show don't tell", here is a google page of images of different augmented reality applications. This stuff really  makes my head spin.  I have all of these Hogwarts-inspired fantasies about three dimensional characters rising out of a page and talking to me. I can  imagine choosing different combinations of chemicals and mixing them together and experiencing the reaction in real time.  I could see a collection of hockey cards, where if you lay them out on a table, the players knock a puck back and forth. I fantasize about holding the page of a recipe, and being guided through my supermarket to buy the ingredients. I would love to see Mark Twain sitting atop my page, complete with rocking chair and pipe, and talking to me about writing Huckleberry Finn.

What about you?  What would you love to see an ebook do?

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AAugmented_GeoTravel.jpg

By GreySmallHorse (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Okay, let's get down to it after Scott's great session yesterday.  What are your plans for creating an e-book or e-pub?  Let's get some ideas together for some great contributions to our own literature.  I don't care what it is about, but why not jump in and try something/  I'm betting almost every one of us has a good idea for a publication that has been rattling around for awhile, and waiting for an excuse to be created.

This isn't a contract:  you know that you can walk away from anything you say.  But what are your ideas for a publication, and what would it look like?  Especially, what would the affordances of e-publishing add to what you do?


Let's talk about software that you have found useful, or that you may have heard about, that can help with the process of creating e-books.

Heather Ross reminded me of Scrivener, a wonderful little tool for writing big projects (books, screenplays, etc) that she told me about when I was starting my e-book project and expressing some frustration with traditional word processors.  Scrivener allowed me -- no, almost forced me -- to write in pieces, and it made me think differently about the chunks of material I was producing.  Getting away from a linear mindset in my writing made a huge difference to me.

Then, also in another part of this seminar, Nicolas Bowskill mentioned:

"There's also things like Calibre software for converting from one ebook format to another and for creating ebooks from scratch. They can even be saved in pdf, epub or mobi (or all 3) so that they can be read on any device."

"When you create and post to Amazon I think you give away a good chunk of the price but you set that price in the first place. Plus you'll get one of the most popular shop windows there is. In addition, Amazon won't kick back your book like Apple might. You can publish whatever you like whenever you like for whatever price you like."

Let's follow up on these ideas.  What software have you found to be helpful as you've designed e-pubs? How might you go about distributing your material after you create it?  Amazon is a good option, but the last time I checked, they required you to sell your book -- no freebies allowed. So it wasn't an option for me. That policy may have changed, but regardless, what distribution channels have you thought about or tried?


Okay, here's something I'd love to get your take on.  I'm betting everyone dropping into this SCoPE seminar is a writer. We write papers, articles, poems, letters to Aunt Carol, proposals, reports ... you get the idea.

What is the most enjoyable writing project you ever completed?  Would that work translate well to doing an e-pub?  And when you do large writing projects, how do you organize yourself?  Do you have any rituals, superstitions or approaches you’re willing to share?

Here's a little superstition of mine:  I almost always start a new writing project by going to an office supply store (and a superstore is even better). In Saskatoon, I'll go to the nearest Staples and wander up and down the aisles, fondling pencil sharpeners, picking out some new gel pens, finiding just the right kind of binder and notebook. I consider it an act of writing, not brash consumerism.  As I walk around I'm thinking constantly about my writing project.  I consider what I want to do with it and what it might look like when I'm done. I fuss over what things might help me build my writing nest. When I'm finished, I have fresh energy for starting a new project and a few new shiny objects to play with during the process.