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IDPF: Boundaries of Participation

I wanted to add a few of my own thoughts to Andrew’s last post on the AAP and the IDPF. I agree that there is too much emphasis on a replication of the print page, and too little engagement in re-envisioning the product so that it supports a diversity of distribution channels and ultimately, product conceptualizations. For that matter, many of us will still opt for some form of print manifestation, for some classes of this content. But regardless, publishers are aware at least cognitively of these transformations, as Sara Lloyd of Pan Macmillan witnesses in her recent manifesto. Indeed, DAISY is not the only actor that is encouraging IDPF to adopt a more profound engagement with newer presentation technologies and a greater diversity in the expectations for interaction, collaboration, and sharing.

One of the harder equations to solve is where the support for some of the features Andrew mentions should actually be located — are they format bound? What is the value in specifying an explicit framework that supports (e.g.) OpenID and OpenSocial for collaborative reading of texts (viz. texts broadly defined)? How much of that should be a normative consideration of the application environment, vs. how much in a schema? Perhaps we rather need to participate more outbound such that libraries and publishers more actively engage in efforts like OpenSocial and DataPortability, to bring the changing needs of our served communities into those dialogues.

Organizationally, how do publishers and libraries become the type of enterprises where that kind of open technical and policy engagement is not only tolerated but endorsed as a normal run of business, instead of being perceived as a perfidious seduction?

I don’t have either cleverness or answers, but I do wonder what goes into the IDPF’s court as a work product, and what goes into the court of our community as a responsibility to redefine and rescale the boundaries of the world of participation.

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  • Peter, the very last part of your post is the key:

    “… but I do wonder what goes into the IDPF’s court as a work product, and what goes into the court of our community as a responsibility to redefine and rescale the boundaries of the world of participation.”

    Two things need to be factored into this discussion:

    1. The timeline of change, which given the nature of publishers and their contracts with authors and the sheer granularity of the work, is going to be considerably longer than instantaneous, and so:

    2. We are going to have a bifurcated market for a while. The heavy users of 2.0 tools, including social networks, will tend to skew to “younger” and “techier”. They will go for the modern products, and be marketed to by modern means. The legacy market, of people reading plain old books in paper, or reading the same plain old books on Kindles and other devices, will remain where the money is for published content for some years to come, certainly at least one decade. For them, new capabilities will remain largely about marketing, not products.

    The IDPF is so singular that it hasn’t yet worked out collaboration with the POD side of the book world, let alone considering the rest of the content-creating community (newspapers, magazines, movies, TV, games, advertising, and whatever else I’m forgetting) that becomes critical in the future world. Not that THEY don’t all have their legacy issues with rights and granularity as well. That is to say: the IDPF’s “court” already has a lot of games to be played on it.

    We appear to approach the future in step increments. My much-smarter-than-I-am father, who would have loved this digital world but lost his edge as it was happening and died a few years ago, used to tell me “life is actually analog, not digital.” I think he was probably right.