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Open source publishing tool Booktype released with new Reports and localizations

Booktype 1.5.4 has been released with multiple bug-fixes, new localizations and Reports, a way to get data on writer and book activity. Reports can be sent automatically via email daily, weekly or monthly and highlight things like peak times of activity, number of new users and the most active books. There are two ways to get Booktype. Install it yourself, or sign up to our cloud-hosted platform.

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Posted by SourceAdam 2013-02-06

Launching Framed Horizons: Student Writing on Nordic Cinema

<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Launching Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic cinema | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey" border="0" src="" title="Launching Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic cinema | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Launching Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic cinema | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey</p></div><p></p>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a> took part in this years <a href="" target="_blank">Frankfurt Book Fair</a>, one of the largest industry and public events dedicated to the world of books. As part of the Digital Innovation Sparks Stage events, Booktype hosted the launch of "Framed Horizons: Student Writing on Nordic Cinema". In the weeks since, we caught up with Marita Fraser who initiated the project through UCL and Norvik Press.</p>
<p>She tells us how the project benefitted students as well as how the process contributes to and enhances the learning process of publishing a book.</p>
<p><strong>Q: Can you describe the book that you published using Booktype?Who was involved? Why was it initiated? What was your interest in publishing these texts?</strong></p>
<p>The book we published is "Framed Horizons: Student Writing on Nordic Cinema", being an anthology of essays written by BA, MA and PhD students of Nordic Cinema at <a href="" target="_blank">UCL</a>, publishing through <a href="" target="_blank">Norvik Press</a>.</p>
<p>17 students were involved in the book, being 15 authors, three of which were also editors plus the Head of the Department of Scandinavian Studies and myself.</p>
<p>It was initiated as a test project to see what might be possible as a publishing project which could be offered to students as an "add on" subject to offer students some real world experience in publishing. Claire Thomson, the Head of Scandinavian studies felt it was a shame that excellent essays live in a filing cabinet after being written and marked and she felt there might be some value to them being given another life as a published anthology.</p>
<p>This project gave students the opportunity to review and reflect on their writing, and the editors an experience in peer review as well as the other aspects of a publishing project. For myself I was interested in seeing how Booktype would work as a collaborative publishing tool within the university environment, as well as the more geeky side of designing and laying out a book in html and css.</p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Some books made with Booktype L-R The Cryptoparty Handbook, On Turtles and Dragons and Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic cinema | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey" border="0" src="" title="Some books made with Booktype L-R The Cryptoparty Handbook, On Turtles and Dragons and Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic cinema | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Some books made with Booktype L-R The Cryptoparty Handbook, On Turtles and Dragons and Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic cinema | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey</p></div><p></p>
<p><strong><br /></strong></p>
<p><strong>Q: Can you describe how publishing occurs at UCL. What is your understanding of the differences between educational publishing within the landscape of publishing?</strong></p>
<p>At UCL publishing happens at many levels. From independent publishing houses that sit within specific departments, such as Norvik Press within The Department of Scandinavian Studies, to online open access publishing through <a href="" target="_blank">Discovery</a> which is initiated by the UCL Library.</p>
<p>Educational publishing functions as an educational and social enterprise, with a focus on sharing information and research, through, books, journals both digital and physical. Publishing is also an educational process within itself, with the development of student publishing projects such as the book we have just published on Nordic Cinema.</p>
<p><strong>Q: How many people were working with Booktype on this project? How were they trained? How did they find using Booktype?</strong></p>
<p>As mentioned above, 17 people worked on the project. The editors were trained with a 5 minute run-through on how Booktype works. The authors were simply emailed to create a Booktype account who then logged-in to the rough edit of the book in Booktype to edit their chapters.</p>
<p>I was impressed at how seamless and almost invisible Booktype was in the project. In editorial meetings we would have the book open in Booktype and "look" at the progress of the book in realtime, which was very empowering for all involved, it seemed to remove hierarchy and made the whole editing process very transparent. All the editors and authors went about editing and updating their chapters and seemed to use Bootype in a very straightforward manor. I had very few comments about the software itself, which to me seemed to reflect that is was doing a very good job of making editing a book fast and simple.</p>
<p><strong>Q: How did you first come across using Booktype for this project? What made you decide to use the tool?</strong></p>
<p>I first came across Booktype when researching new kinds of publishing tools. I liked the collaborative, and online aspects of the tool, as well as the fact that it created the content in an HTML container which could then be outputted to various formats. It was these qualities which led me to propose it as a tool which might be very interesting to use for a student publishing project.</p>
<p><strong>Q: Do you think it was a positive learning experience for the students? Can you describe the benefits?</strong></p>
<p>All of the students involved had a very positive experience.</p>
<p>Benefits included:being given the possibility to review and improve upon their own writing through reflection and peer review. Also being given a very transparent view on the publishing process, leaving the university with published writing and experience in editing a publication. Collaborating with other students both remotely and through the editorial board to create something that is a physical tangible thing, a book!</p>
<p><strong>Q: Did you ever have any problems or set backs using Booktype?</strong></p>
<p>There were a few technical issues with any kind of new software, and Booktype has them. But in working with the development team, I felt many of those issues were being addressed as we developed the project. Things such as stray html coming through cut and paste of <a href="" target="_blank">Word</a> documents needed to be dealt with, but it was nothing that everyone doesn't already deal with in trying to work with Word docs. My version of <a href="" target="_blank">Chrome</a> auto updating and no longer working with Booktype output, was not fun, but was fixed with a little bit of messing about with the settings for Chrome. I found the Booktype developers extremely helpful in trying to sort out small problems, and we were all learning from the process.</p>
<p><strong>Q: How do you plan to use the tool in the future? Would you/have you recommended it to others?</strong></p>
<p>We are currently looking for a new set of students to work through the process again, and produce another book of student writing on a new area of interest. Yes! I would recommend it to anyone interested in creating a transparent and collaborative publishing environment or project.</p>
<li>If you want to try Booktype yourself for free you can sign up for a free Starter package <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. </li>
<li>Sign up to the Booktype Pro mailing list <a href=";id=ac87b92e95%20" target="_blank">here.</a></li>
<li>If you have any feedback, questions or concerns about this article please send us a message on our<a href="" target="_blank"> Facebook page</a>. </li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-11-14

How to 'bling' your Booktype

<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Painted Nails | Photo credit Flickr Mike Fernwood (CC BY-SA 2.0)" border="0" src="" title="Painted Nails | Photo credit Flickr Mike Fernwood (CC BY-SA 2.0)" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Painted Nails | Photo credit Flickr Mike Fernwood (CC BY-SA 2.0)</p></div><p></p>
<p>As you know, you can use <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a> to publish your books in different formats and you can also view them on the web.</p>
<p>In this blog post I will try to show how the web view can be customized with simple template modifications. By default, Booktype comes with predefined templates but they can all be easily customized to fit your needs (templates can also be multilingual).</p>
<h2>Scenario: Awesome Sun Publishing House </h2>
<p>Let us imagine we run a publishing shop called <strong>"Awesome Sun"</strong> who is interested in publishing books about solar power. Booktype has been installed in the <strong>/var/www/awesomesun/</strong> directory on our web hosting server. But we are not so happy with the default look and feel so we decide to change it.</p>
<h2>So where should our web designers look first?</h2>
<p>In the case of "Awesome Sun", the template files should be placed in the <strong>/var/www/awesomesun/templates/</strong> directory. While all static files (CSS files, JavaScript files, images, ...) should be placed in <strong>/var/www/awesomesun/static/</strong> directory.</p>
<p>Fairly simple for now. Before doing any work it would be wise to check our <a href="" target="_blank">documentation</a> for information on how to work with Django templates. As you may guess, the examples in this blog post are oversimplified so if you want to go further with Booktype you can access these other resources.</p>
<h2>Modifying the template files</h2>
<p>By default, to present books on the web Booktype comes with the Django application called <em>"Reader"</em> and we will customize templates for that application. Original templates for this application are placed in the <strong>$BOOKTYPESOURCE/lib/booki/reader/templates/</strong> directory and our customized templates will be placed in the <strong>/var/www/awesomesun/templates/reader/</strong> directory. All you have to do is either copy the original template files into awesomesun project and modify them or write new templates from scratch.</p>
<h2>What kind of modifications can we make?</h2>
<p>As you can see on the screenshots bellow we want to have a very simple book view. We want our "Table of contents" to always be visible while we scroll the page and we want our header to be fixed on top with the name of the book and the chapter we are currently reading. <br /><br /></p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img border="0" src=";ImageId=1191" /></p></div><p></p>
<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img border="0" src=";ImageId=1192" /></p></div><p></p>
<h2>And on the back end</h2>
<p>To make this happen I created a new base template called <strong>new_base.html</strong> and placed it in the<strong> /var/www/awesomesun/templates/</strong> directory. This is a base template which other templates for the "Reader" application should include. This template just includes the jQuery library and creates place holders for future content.</p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img border="0" src=";ImageId=1193" /></p></div><p></p>
<p>Then you would create the <strong>/var/www/awesomesun/templates/reader/book_chapter.html</strong> template file. This is where I include the additional JavaScript library, CSS file, display "Table of contents" and content of chapter. Besides HTML and CSS there are just two important things to look at. The chapter content is inserted with <em>{% booki_format content %}</em> and "Table of contents" is inside of the variable chapters. It all depends how you want to show your "Table of Contents" but here I am using the "for" loop to construct unordered list with chapter titles. Everything else is just CSS styling.</p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img border="0" src=";ImageId=1194" /></p></div><p></p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img border="0" src=";ImageId=1195" /></p></div><p></p>
<p>Essentially, this is how you customize Booktype templates. I have compiled all the needed files (with CSS and additional JavaScript) from <a href="" title="Example template files">this blog post here</a>. Please download it if you are interested in gong deeper into this process.</p>
<li>If you want to stay up to date with news concerning Booktype join the <a href=";id=ac87b92e95%20" target="_blank">Booktype Pro mailing list</a>. </li>
<li>If you have questions or comments about this blogpost please send us a message on our <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>.</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-11-12

From paper to pixels and back again - Objavi links solutions for publishers

<h2></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="eReader Comparison | Photo credit Flickr edvvc (CC BY 2.0)" border="0" src="" title="eReader Comparison | Photo credit Flickr edvvc (CC BY 2.0)" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">eReader Comparison | Photo credit Flickr edvvc (CC BY 2.0)</p></div><p></h2>
<h2>The basics of Objavi-widening the possibilities of publishing</h2>
<p>Objavi is a platform for exporting (rendering) content into a book format -- for digital, print, ebook readers and for online reading. The idea behind <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a> and Objavi is to support as many different types of output formats as possible and have the ability to create high quality outcomes for each from a single source document.</p>
<p>Objavi started out as a part of the Booktype project, where it's role was making PDFs and EPUBs from books created inside the Booktype editor.</p>
<h2>New roles and tasks as publishing moves to the browser</h2>
<p>With the coming of books in a browser -- a new paradigm where the browser is turned into a complete typesetting environment for creating books -- Objavi's role is augmented with the task of supporting the front-end user with the ability to quickly and efficiently create print-quality renderings of the whole document or its individual chapters in a number of different formats, page sizes, fonts etc.</p>
<p>For creating print-quality PDFs, we are in a final stage of switching to a new rendering engine that is based on pure <a href="" target="_blank">WebKit</a> and uses our very own <a href="" target="_blank">BookJS</a> project. WebKit is a well-known web page rendering engine that is used inside <a href="" target="_blank">Apple's Safari</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Google's Chrome</a> web browsers. WebKit is also an open-source project, a very important feature for us as it allowed us to stay on the bleeding edge of development and use new and experimental features as they emerged.</p>
<p>BookJS is a JavaScript library that reflows a web page into a fixed-page format and in effect turns a web page into a book ready for printing. This approach uses WebKit's own layout engine and offers a much simpler and cleaner solution than the one we used so far. This new rendering engine will allow for higher quality outputs that look 100% like how the user sees them while editing the book in the browser.</p>
<h2>Working towards agile Objavi</h2>
<p>We are also working on a more agile Objavi that can be used by a number of different clients, each with disparate requirements but having the same goal -- creating book quality publications. One example of these users would be a content management system that needs the ability to create hard-copies of published content. Another would be a digital news archive that offers print-on-demand service of the archived articles.</p>
<p>As well a new API is in the works that will offer Objavi's functionality to various projects that in some way or another require print-quality output. Stay tuned for more updates as these developments progress.</p>
<li>If you want to stay up to the minute on Booktype news sign up to the Booktype Pro mailing list <a href=";id=bb3cf0c6b8" target="_blank">here</a>. </li>
<li>If you have a question or concern about this blogpost please send us a message on <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-11-09

Introducing BookJS

<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Books made with BookJS | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey" border="0" src="" title="Books made with BookJS | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Books made with BookJS | Photo credit Kristin Trethewey</p></div><p></p>
<p>In the last months we have been working on a new technology for rendering books in <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a>. Actually, it is very nice Javascript that can be used in any application and it is called BookJS. </p>
<p>BookJS is developed by <a href="" target="_blank">Johannes Wilm</a>, one of the core Booktype developers. What it does is very simple - you can add the javascript to any HTML page and it will format it like a book - directly in the browser. You can see page numbers, the table of contents, a title page, and left and right breaking pages etc. There is a very simple example of it in action here: <a href=""></a></p>
<p>(note: you need the latest chrome for this to work).</p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Image 1118" border="0" src="" title="HTML before BookJS" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">HTML before BookJS</p></div><p></p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Image 1117" border="0" src="" title="Book in browser after BookJS" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Book in browser after BookJS</p></div><p></p>
<h2>Why do this?</h2>
<p>Well it gives us the opportunity for three very exciting things:</p>
<p>you can use BookJS in combination with an inline editor like <a href="" target="_blank">Aloha</a>, so that you can actually edit the content <em>as it appears in the book.</em> That means the layout of the page you edit is as it would appear in a printed book (it is also possible to use it to emulate iPad etc but we have not refined this yet). </p>
<li>you can style the book in the browser - opening the door for in-browser design tools.</li>
<li>you can output to print-ready PDF and it looks the same as it did in the browser.</li>
<p>This is pretty exciting stuff. To match the development, we have created our own back-end renderer which implements BookJS <em>inside</em> of the Webkit browser engine (developed by Booktype developer <a href="" target="_blank">Borko Jandras</a>). This means ,what you see in the browser is what you get in the final PDF.</p>
<p>So, this is all in alpha development stage. We intend for it to be released in the next months pending roadmap conversations. However BookJS is already available from the <a href="" target="_blank">Sourcefabric GitHub pages</a>, it has already been implemented in test development with the <a href="" target="_blank">WYSIWHAT?</a> Aloha editor, and it has already been used to produce three books. Of particular interest, is a book produced by the University College of London Scandinavian Studies Department, <a href="" target="_blank">Framed Horizons: Student writing on Nordic Cinema</a>.</p>
<p>We will put some Press Release material out shortly about BookJS so consider this an early heads up!</p>
<li>If you would like to contribute to the development please consider joining the <a href=";fromgroups#!forum/booktype-dev" target="_blank">Booktype development list</a>.</li>
<li>Get started with cloud-publishing with <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype Pro</a> today!</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-10-26

Developing the Booktype community

<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Open | Photo credit Flickr John Martinez Pavliga CC BY 2.0" border="0" src="" title="Open | Photo credit Flickr John Martinez Pavliga CC BY 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Open | Photo credit Flickr John Martinez Pavliga CC BY 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>Recently we have opened the doors much wider for collaboration on the development of <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a>. When I brought the project to Sourcefabric initially, it was in the hope of giving Booktype more development muscle and the chance to live as a successful open source project. Before Booktype came to Sourcefabric it was a project that had been developed mostly by one organisation - <a href="" target="_blank">FLOSS Manuals</a>. By moving it to Sourcefabric I felt our community could grow and this would help ensure its existence in the future. And so, by making it easier for collaboration to happen we are working hard to build a community of developers who care about the future of Booktype.</p>
<h2>Developing a community of developers</h2>
<p>Joining a new organization means working through processes and trying to find better ways to move forward collectively. Unfortunately, it has taken us longer than we would have liked to restructure a few things. But we think these slight adjustments will make the project more open and easier for developers to get involved.</p>
<li>The first thing we added is a <a href=";fromgroups#!forum/booktype-dev" target="_blank">development mailing list</a>. We will now use this to develop communications instead of using forums. A small first step, but a good one. Forums are good for reporting issues but not really a favored medium for developers who prefer direct communication channels and plain text. So, we set up a new list which should be much easier to start conversations.</li>
<li>Second we have migrated the development focus to <a href="" target="_blank">GitHub</a> and this is a great place for collaborating on code. All the information about how to get involved, how to make a contribution and how to get in touch with other developers is contained in the <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype GitHub pages</a>. </li>
<p>We also want to be as helpful as possible with questions about the code base and putting potential commercial interests aside in the interest of collaboration. In the weeks to come we will have open development VOIP calls where anyone can join in and there will be other channels too. There are also more blog posts emanating from the developers about the code base and thinking around how the project will move forward. This helps share our plans with the community and initiates a public discussion on particular topics of development. We haven't yet gone so far as setting up community Codes of Conduct but it might be a possibility in the future. The real point is that we want Booktype to grow and to do that we want to create a community of developers that can work together. Everyone can gain something from the project, and also help maintain Booktype's position as the best and most innovative online book production platform for many, many years to come. </p>
<h2>Longevity with open source practice </h2>
<p>Open source enables longevity and licenses are just that - enablers. They don't <em>make</em> a healthy thriving open source project - that is the result of the individuals involved. This secondary concern is precisely what we are working on at the moment. If you would like to get involved check out the GitHub pages and become part of the Booktype development community.</p>
<li>You can also join the <a href=";id=bb3cf0c6b8" target="_blank">Booktype Pro</a> mailing list to get the most up to date news about Booktype. </li>
<li>Check out<a href="" target="_blank"> Booktype Pro</a> and get started cloud-publishing today!</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-10-25

Booktype Pro is your one-stop publishing shop

<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="King Cloud | Photo credit Flickr Karen Ka Ying Wong CC BY-SA 2.0" border="0" src="" title="King Cloud | Photo credit Flickr Karen Ka Ying Wong CC BY-SA 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">King Cloud | Photo credit Flickr Karen Ka Ying Wong CC BY-SA 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>Publishers, newspapers, print-on-demand services, educators... breathe a sigh of relief. <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype Pro</a> is here! No more lost manuscripts, overwritten Word files, awkward wikis or cumbersome CMSes. Replace all that hassle with a free, cloud-based service you can get started with right away. But, let's start at the beginning. What exactly is cloud publishing?</p>
<h2>Here's how it works...</h2>
<li>Access cloud-hosted book projects anywhere, any time via the web and start writing.</li>
<li>Use social tools and permissions to speed work and keep everything neat.</li>
<li>Define your own licences and copyright.</li>
<li>Publish beautifully designed books to pdf, epub and out-of-the-box.</li>
<li>Flexible packages. Need 1000s of books with 1000s of writers? You got it.</li>
<li>No installation, upgrades or servers. We do all that for you.</li>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Booktype Pro</a> is a free or paid hosting service depending on the project you are about to embark on. Yes, you heard right. Our Starter package is free, and will be forever. Watch the screencast below, made by our very own <a href="" target="_blank">Josh McLain</a>) to see how to set up your very own free account.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Here are some examples of how Booktype is used...</p>
<h2>Write your first book today.</h2>
<p>You can create an online account for free and create one book with up to 10 collaborators. It's by far the fastest and easiest way to produce a book. From start to finish the entire book is written, edited, designed and published with one tool. Booktype is already formatted with pagination and a table of contents, so there is no need to design your book with another software. You can watch this screencast (again by Josh McLain) that shows how easy it is to create a book and add chapters.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>After your finished writing, one click publishing pushes your content directly to print or digital formats. It's your choice: print-ready PDF, screen-PDF, epub, ODT or directly to your <a href="" target="_blank"></a> account. </p>
<h2>Collective workflows in a one-stop shop </h2>
<p>If you are planning to produce a series of books, Booktype Pro is your home-base for managing these workflows. Whether you plan to produce 10 or 1000 books you can invite an unlimited number of collaborators to join your account and work together to write, edit and publish books. Collaborative writing projects have never been easier. Share notes, chat in the browser and save versions of your writing between invited colleagues. Booktype Pro helps keep the whole team on the same page, literally.</p>
<h2>Enabling projects that make a difference</h2>
<p>Booktype has enabled many organizations to produce beautiful books. Don't believe us? Just check out the <a href="" target="_blank">testimonials on our website</a>. Allen Gunn, Executive director of Aspiration writes:</p>
<p>"Booktype is the present and future of collaborative publishing, and we could not live without it in the work we do. It bakes the values of the open web and the passion of the free knowledge movement into a platform that aggregates knowledge while catalyzing communities."</p>
<p>Organisations the world over are adopting Booktype to produce books. Many of these projects are making a big difference to the landscape of publishing. <a href="" target="_blank">Siyavula</a> in South Africa, produce free textbooks for millions of children. They have been able to do this through collaborative online writing. They use Booktype to assist in building their community of writers and this helps teachers and students access important information online.</p>
<p>Marita Fraser from University College London, recently published a book of student writing, <a href="" target="_blank">Framed Horizons:Student writing on Nordic cinema</a>.  With the aid of a collaborative editorial team, her students were able to quickly adopt the tool with very little training. She plans to continue using it for future projects.</p>
<p>Booktype Pro is here to make a difference to both authors and publishers.</p>
<li>If you're curious about getting started with the software you can also <a href="" target="_blank">read the manual</a> which is available in both English and Spanish. </li>
<li>Join the <a href=";id=bb3cf0c6b8" target="_blank">Booktype Pro mailing list</a> to stay in touch with all the latest news and updates for the Booktype Pro community. </li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-10-24

Sourcefabric launches Booktype Pro, free cloud-hosted publishing service

<p> </p>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Booktype Pro, a free cloud-hosted service for writing and publishing books</a>, has been launched by <a href="" target="_blank">non-profit open source media support organisation Sourcefabric</a>.</p>
<p>Powered by the 2012 <a href="" target="_blank">Lovie Award-winning</a> open source software Booktype, the new service offers a platform that aims to make it easier for people and organisations to collate, organise, edit, collaborate on and publish books to digital and print formats.</p>
<p>With social tools, flexible workflows and freedom to choose any licence, Booktype Pro is designed for internal or public-facing use. Sourcefabric maintains each platform's installation, hosting, upgrades, and security. The Starter package, which is free, allows 10 people to collaborate on one book. Advanced packages which allow greater customisation, unlimited users, and thousands of books start at $15.99 a month.</p>
<p><strong>Improving bookmaking</strong></p>
<p>Speed and efficiency of production is a central paradigm of the service. Booktype Pro allows publishers to produce well-designed books ready for distribution to their readers’ favourite medium - whether that is a laptop screen, an e-reader,  a mobile device or a print book - within minutes of the content being finished or updated.</p>
<p>“Collaboration is an important part of publishing,” said Booktype Project Lead Adam Hyde, “and online production platforms facilitate this, offering much greater opportunities than we have ever had before for exploring and improving the process of making books.”</p>
<p>By facilitating editing and translation and eliminating the need for wikis, cumbersome CMSes, or e-mailed word processor files, Booktype aims to promote and encourage the kind of collaborative writing process employed by <a href="" target="_blank">South Africa’s Siyavula, who use it as a community hub for over 1000 teachers</a> across South Africa to share class notes and to collaboratively write textbooks.</p>
<p>Other early adopters include <a href="" target="_blank"></a> who aim to be Italy’s first print-on-demand service able to offer authors the possibility to write, publish, and distribute books on one platform. Booktype enabled Internews to produce <a href="" target="_blank">How To Bypass Internet Censorship</a>, a 300-page book now available in nine languages, in five days. The 442-page <a href="" target="_blank">Cryptoparty handbook</a>, an internet phenomenon that was downloaded thousands of times on its release in October 2012, was written using Booktype in three days with 20 authors from remote locations worldwide. </p>
<p><strong>Booktype features</strong></p>
<li>clean, easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface</li>
<li>simultaneous editing, live chat and messaging tools</li>
<li>powerful, quick output to pdf, epub, mobi, odt and html</li>
<li>export to Amazon, iBooks, and other print-on-demand or ebook store formats</li>
<li>collaborative tools to engage proofreaders, editors and contributors</li>
<li>merged print and digital workflow to keep books up-to-date across all platforms</li>
<li>individual book history, versions, clones, editing permissions and license management</li>
<li>easy import of content, chapters and entire books from other sources for remix and reuse</li>
<p><strong>Useful Links</strong></p>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">Booktype Pro Homepage</a></li>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">Booktype Demo</a> </li>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">Screenshots</a></li>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">YouTube Video</a></li>
<p><strong>About Sourcefabric</strong></p>
<p>Sourcefabric is a Czech non-profit organisation that builds open source tools for journalists, newsrooms and radio stations. It has its headquarters in Prague, branches in Berlin and Toronto, and representatives in Minsk, Guatemala, Warsaw, Belgrade and Cluj. It started life as CAMP in 1998, the new-media arm of the Media Development Loan Fund. In 2010 Sourcefabric launched as a wholly autonomous organisation securing private funding that propelled it into the ranks of one of the largest European open source projects for news and media.</p>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-10-23

New Booktype magazine offers open perspectives on publishing

<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Booktype magazine | Photo credit Adam Thomas" border="0" src="" title="Booktype magazine | Photo credit Adam Thomas" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Booktype magazine | Photo credit Adam Thomas</p></div><p></p>
<p>Our project to release the second edition of the Sourcefabric Magazine, after several months, has finally come to fruition. This week, when the Sourcefabric team travels to <a href="" target="_blank">Frankfurt for one of the largest industry events dedicated to publishing</a>, we will also take with us 1,000 printed versions of the Booktype Magazine.</p>
<h2>Between the covers</h2>
<p>The idea was to convey the diversity of publishing today. Binding these thoughts into the ever-important printed object brought this to the fore. However, the goal was also to address a larger concern for the transitioning publishing industry on the brink of going digital.</p>
<h2>Perspectives on publishing</h2>
<p>One of our first tasks was highlighting strong voices and unique perspectives on publishing. We were incredibly lucky to find authors who represent a wide breadth of views.</p>
<p>Our leading article by <a href="" target="_blank">Joe Wikert</a>, general manager of <a href="" target="_blank">O'Reilly</a> forecasts some major developments he expects to see in publishing. While these shifts may unsettle some in the industry he remains positive that it is an exciting time to work in publishing.</p>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Siyavula</a> is a non-profit textbook publishing organization in South Africa. They use online, collaborative writing to make textbooks free and open to the public. They explain how their textbooks are impacting students and how important mobile applications are becoming in order to distribute these texts to poor areas.</p>
<p>From within academics, <a href="" target="_blank">Ulf Grüner</a>, who works at the department of Journalism and Media Management at the University of Applied Sciences Vienna, describes the information environment of these institutions. He quotes<a href="" target="_blank"> Paul Bradshaw</a>, a leading journalism educator, to explain how technology can be used to enrich the learning process.</p>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Adam Hyde</a>, Booktype's project lead, tells us about the collaborative spectrum of publishing. He emphasises that collaboration is part of any project and acknowledges that in today's web based world we should take advantage of this more and more.</p>
<p>Dr. Jörg Dörnermann, CEO of <a href="" target="_blank">epubli</a>, a German print-on-demand service, focuses on the history of self-publishing and the plenitude of options that self-publishers have today.</p>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Dr. David M. Berry</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Michael Dieter</a> co-wrote an article about their collective experience during a Book Sprint. They explain the taboo that exists in academic writing and they explain the benefits of collaborative publishing, encouraging authors to share knowledge.</p>
<p>The art director of our magazines is <a href="" target="_blank">Matthias Last</a>. The photographer of this issue is <a href="" target="_blank">Florian Oellers</a> and the Illustrator is <a href="" target="_blank">Florian Sänger</a>.</p>
<h2>What we learned along the way</h2>
<p>As a non-profit company who make tools for media organisations we are not often in the situation of publishing a magazine. The venture proved to be a valuable lesson where we could test our editorial and publishing skills. These efforts also helped us understand the perspective of publishers a little more. </p>
<li>If you would like to read the Booktype magazine in full you can download it <a href="" title="Booktype magazine">here</a>.</li>
<li>If you want to get your hands on a hard copy please get in touch with us <a href="" target="_blank">here.</a> We would be happy to answer any questions you have about Booktype.</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-10-11

Booktype at the Frankfurt Bookfair 2012

<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Frankfurter Buchmesse 2011 // Frankfurt Book Fair 2011 | Photocredit Flickr Oliver Bildesheim | CC BY 2.0" border="0" src="" title="Frankfurter Buchmesse 2011 // Frankfurt Book Fair 2011 | Photocredit Flickr Oliver Bildesheim | CC BY 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Frankfurter Buchmesse 2011 // Frankfurt Book Fair 2011 | Photocredit Flickr Oliver Bildesheim | CC BY 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>The world's biggest book fair is in Frankfurt and Booktype has been invited to join the conversation around the future of books. We're on stage several times and our posse will be staffing our stand and getting out and about to meet publishers, editors and experts. We'd love to meet you; come past our stage at any time, or ping us on <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter</a>.</p>
<p>Here's what we will be up to during the <a href="" target="_blank">Tools of Change</a> conference and <a href="" target="_blank">Frankfurt Book Fair</a>.</p>
<h2>If you want to see us on stage:</h2>
<p><strong>Tuesday, 9th October,</strong> you can catch Adam Hyde and myself presenting at the <a href="" target="_blank">Tools of Change</a> conference where we will be discussing <a href="" target="_blank">Open Publishing</a> with Joe Wikert, General Manager of <a href="" target="_blank">O'Reilly</a> at 14.10 CET.</p>
<p><strong>On Friday 12th October at 13.00 CET</strong> on the Sparks Stage in Hall 8.0, Adam Hyde will discuss how <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a> has been used within education at our session, <strong>Reading, writing, revolution: the classroom publishers</strong>. <a href="" target="_blank">Marita Fraser from University College London</a> will launch "Framed Horizons: Student Writing on Nordic Cinema", a book produced by her students using Booktype. Using collaborative learning models alongside the software, they asked the question "What if the classroom itself was a publishing house?" UCL and Sourcefabric seek to change the way students work with books. Come see how we are doing this.</p>
<p><strong>On Saturday, 13th October at 10.45 CET</strong> on the Sparks Stage in Hall 8.0, join us in a quick fire, 5-minute Ignite presentation entitled From <strong>Zero to Books in Minutes</strong> with Adam Thomas who will speak to Ed Novotka, editor in chief of Publishing Perspectives during a panel session as part of <a href="" target="_blank">Publishing Perspective's hosted Self-Publishing session</a>.</p>
<h2>Come and say hi!</h2>
<p>If you will be in Frankfurt from October 10-14, we would love to meet you. Come visit us at <strong>our stand at in Hall 8.0 (Innovation), L 973</strong>. We will have shiny new Booktype magazines with great stories featuring some of our collaborative partners from around the globe who are changing the landscape of publishing today. And we might have biscuits.</p>
<p>To set up a meeting, just email me at <a href=""></a></p>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-09-20

The little USB stick that packs a big open source punch

<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Our products are on the move. Don't let the optical illusion fool you: all USB sticks come with the same pre-loaded Sourcefabric software. Photo credit | Flickr Bidgee CC-BY-SA-3.0" border="0" src="" title="Our products are on the move. Don't let the optical illusion fool you: all USB sticks come with the same pre-loaded Sourcefabric software. Photo credit | Flickr Bidgee CC-BY-SA-3.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Our products are on the move. Don't let the optical illusion fool you: all USB sticks come with the same pre-loaded Sourcefabric software. Photo credit | Flickr Bidgee CC-BY-SA-3.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>A few months ago Sourcefabric stepped into a new world of distributing our products and services. We decided to expand our product range and ship hardware as well as the software you already know. Licensing and trademarking hardware is a long and arduous process that includes many meetings and long paper trails. We decided to make a first step. And voila, we are happy to announce that the humble USB stick available with bootable versions of all our open source software are available for sale on <a href=";page=1&amp;rh=n%3A667823011%2Ck%3ASourcefabric" target="_blank"></a>!</p>
<p>However, we didn't want to sell something we didn't think was genuinely cool or useful. What comes packed onto this USB stick is essentially the easiest way to get a sense of what Sourcefabric produces everyday: better tools for journalist, radio djs and publishers who want to work with open source technology. The USB stick comes pre-loaded with Airtime, Newscoop and Booktype. Plug it in, boot it and you are all set up.</p>
<h2><strong>Three reasons to buy a USB stick with Sourcefabric software</strong></h2>
<li>You can help Sourcefabric establish itself in the North American market and pave the way for more interesting hardware to come. If you believe in open source software or independent news this will help us continue with our mission to better both interest groups, and you can help us do all that just by buying a USB stick.</li>
<li>Take home a collectors item for a discounted fee. For the next two weeks we have decided to make these USB sticks half price. This means that not only are we not making any fee off the original price, but for a limited time we will sell them for less than what they cost us to produce. So you get a pretty good deal especially right now!</li>
<li>Show your friends how to use open source tools for media on any computer that runs Ubuntu 10.4. With this USB stick in hand, Airtime, Newscoop and Booktype software are ready to plug and play without any downloading or installations. If you are an open source enthusiast you can spread the gospel easily showing friends, family or colleagues the back end interface of these software much more easily.</li>
<h2>So first you have to make a choice</h2>
<p>Pick your favourite colour: Newscoop blue, Airtime orange, Superdesk green or Booktype purple.</p>
<p>Pick your favourite software:</p>
<li>Newscoop is the open content management system for professional journalists and online newspapers.</li>
<li>Airtime provides open source radio software for scheduling, automation and remote station management.</li>
<li>Superdesk is open software for managing newsroom content.</li>
<li>Booktype is the open source platform to write and publish print and digital books.</li>
<h2>...Nonetheless you can try them all</h2>
<p>No matter which USB key you choose all the Sourcefabric software is bundled on to each and every one. Not only will you be supporting the software you already love you can test run all our other software you may be less familiar with. You never know whether an upcoming project you or a friend is working on may come in handy by trying this software beforehand. Help yourself or someone you love find the perfect open source software to get their work out into the world and help Sourcefabric continue to develop more great open source tools.</p>
<li>Pick up a Sourcefabric USB stick at a limited time reduced price on <a href=";page=1&amp;rh=n%3A667823011%2Ck%3ASourcefabric" target="_blank">Amazon today</a>!</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-09-04

Millions of textbooks to South African students-pushing the frontier of collaborative publishing

<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Nurses Visit South Africa 5 |Photo credit Penn State CC-BY-NC 2.0" border="0" src="" title="Nurses Visit South Africa 5 |Photo credit Penn State CC-BY-NC 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Nurses Visit South Africa 5 |Photo credit Penn State CC-BY-NC 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>"We are opening" is the meaning of the Nguni word "Siyavula" and does a good job of describing the mission of the organisation of the same name, based in Cape Town. What has become a self-sustaining social enterprise started ten years ago when a group of ambitious students gathered at the University of Cape Town to answer a call from other students who were missing critical texts to pass their final science exams.</p>
<p>The goals were simple: make these texts available to students and have them remain permanently free in the future. With this in mind, the project initiated by Mark Horner was named the <a href="" target="_blank">Free High School Science Texts</a> (FHSST). In its early phase the volunteer physics students set out to answer a direct concern. Soon they realized they made a big difference to a large number of people. The project grew almost naturally and the content they produced was shared around the world. </p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Siyavula" border="0" src="" title="Siyavula | Photo credit Siyavula" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Siyavula | Photo credit Siyavula</p></div><p></p>
<p>Since then, <a href="" target="_blank">Siyavula</a> was born and continues with the same mission but with a broadened scope. Not only were the number of titles and school grades expanded, they also opened up new ways to distribute educational textbooks to children in South Africa online. Siyavula are now using <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a> to enable community contributions and improve publishing of these textbooks.</p>
<h2>Phones are easier to get than books, so publish to phones</h2>
<p>Considering how poor the conditions are in many schools and homes in South Africa, digital formats, particularly those available for mobile phones, are a major step forward for education. Nicola du Toit from Siyavula states: "Being able to access quality material for free on their mobile phones means students can learn despite the poor state of their schools and they can access these materials from home, too. The mobile access thing is huge."</p>
<h2>Collaboration shifts to the web</h2>
<p>The method of collaborative writing, which was present from the very first workshop in 2002, is still how the materials are produced today. For the past few years the so called "textbook sprints" have brought South African graduate students and educators together, to participate in the collective writing process that ends in the production of a textbook. So far they have been working with students and professors from Australia and the U.K., American universities, and South African universities including the University of Cape Town, the University of Stellenbosch and Rhodes University.</p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Collaborative writing" border="0" src="" title="Collaborative writing | Photo credit Siyavula" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Collaborative writing | Photo credit Siyavula</p></div><p></p>
<h2>Publishing online brings students and educators together</h2>
<p>Under normal circumstances a long and laborious series of edits between only a few individuals is sent back and forth from computer to computer before a textbook is finalized and ready for print. What is new is that once the participants return from the intensive collaborative workshop, they continue updating the materials online. By taking advantage of an online community, students can always access the most relevant information instantly. The continual maintenance keeps the textbooks "alive" in a way that education has never seen before. By mixing writing workshops with online collaboration, Siyavula initiated an amazing process that has the potential to upturn the arduous process of producing textbooks in the future.</p>
<h2>Changing the future of an individual or the world</h2>
<p>With a total of five workshops under their belt, Siyavula's community multiplies each time they facilitate a project. They have received thousands of messages from eager educators and students whose lives changed through the program. The feedback regarding their work is more than gratifying. One student told them that by using Siyavula's textbooks she passed her final school year and went on to higher education at the University of Johannesburg. "The idea that high quality material can be made available for free is a paradigm shift for many!" states Nicola. It seems too good to be true or hard to believe that positive change can happen for free.</p>
<p>In the coming years Siyavula plans to expand their selection of textbooks. Their focus is currently mathematics and science but they plan to offer other subject areas. Building sustainable communities around each text is another challenge that allows them to expand and maintain preexisting texts. Siyavula innovatively applies the open and collaborative nature of the web to a very real problem that exists within the educational system in South Africa. It may be no wonder if projects like Siyavula influence the way the rest of the world views learning in the future.</p>
<li>For the latest information on Booktype join the Booktype Pro mailing list <a href=";id=bb3cf0c6b8" target="_blank">here</a>.</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-09-03

And the winner is... Aloha! Choosing a web editor...

<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Aloha | Photo credit Sam Howzit Flickr CC BY 2.0" border="0" src="" title="Aloha | Photo credit Sam Howzit Flickr CC BY 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Aloha | Photo credit Sam Howzit Flickr CC BY 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>One of the outcomes of July's WYSIWHAT? meetup in Berlin was the selection of <a href="" target="_blank">Aloha</a> as the editor of choice for <a href="" target="_blank">Booktype</a>'s interface. Aloha Editor is a semantic Rich Text Editor framework and will soon be what all Booktype users will be writing, editing and designing pages and books with.</p>
<p>Not only this, but members of both <a href="" target="_blank">OERPUB</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Connexions</a> have also committed to using Aloha for their projects, meaning development will be faster and more closely linked to the aims of all three groups. So, how and why did this decision come about?</p>
<h1>What you see is what you get?</h1>
<p>In true <a href="" target="_blank">#newsbeta</a> spirit, Berlin's <a href="" target="_blank">WYSIWHAT?</a> brought together designers, coders, hackers, readers and writers to explore the future of producing text in the browser with three days of unconferencing and hacking.</p>
<p>In attendence were co-organisers OERPUB and Sourcefabric, plus representatives from Connexions, <a href="" target="_blank">Siyavula</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Upfront Systems</a> and many other organisations. "It was very nice to meet all these interesting people from all kinds of different backgrounds and countries," said Remko Siemerink, from <a href="" target="_blank">De WAAG</a> in Amsterdam, while Beata Sobczak from Poland remarked that "through the workshops, I could take a closer look at the problems which developers meet every day."</p>
<h1>Welcoming Aloha!</h1>
<p>One of the key outcomes of the meet-up was to settle on one editor that all parties would agree to work on, develop, and contribute to. After placing people in different groups, analysing all available HTML5 editors and going through various brainstorming sessions, Aloha was the framework chosen for future development.</p>
<p>Of the process, Giacomo D'Angelo of<a href="" target="_blank"> Simplicissimus Book Farm S.R.L</a> commented that "I really liked this open-minded approach. The developers were not forced in any direction, but left free to choose the right thing."</p>
<p>In the end, Aloha was the winner. Aloha is a semantic, rich text Editor framework written in Javascript with best support of xHTML5. It can be integrated into a CMS, blog, wiki software or any other project where you need to edit content with a web based tool. For the Booktype team there were five clear advantages to using it.</p>
<li><strong>In-context editing.</strong> Aloha, unlike WYSIWYG editors, actually lets you edit the page rather than the text abstracted from the page. This makes for a much nicer editing experience and opens up a lot of other possibilities for interacting with the page.</li>
<li><strong>Good development activity.</strong> The Aloha team are very approachable and active. We talked to a couple of the core dev team and are happy that they are easy going and seem good to work with.</li>
<li><strong>Uses JQuery.</strong> Aloha just changed to JQuery libs recently which is great because Booktype also uses a lot of JQuery so it minimalises the possibilities for conflict and lowers the number of external libraries required.</li>
<li><strong>In-browser design a step closer.</strong> Aloha interacts directly with HTML5 content editable regions without changing the structure of the page which means any CSS applied is unmediated and can be effected directly by the user.</li>
<li><strong>Can work with external Javascripts.</strong> Because Aloha doesn't change the structure of the page (as per above) any external JS libs can work directly on the content without needing to be altered.</li>
<h1>Reaching the holy grail</h1>
<p>Plenty of great code examples were worked on in the meet-up, and the Aloha code was forked on <a href="" target="_blank">Github</a> specifically for the development of Aloha plugins, models, tests, and examples for use in the production of books and open educational resources. Plan is, of course, to commit all the code back to Aloha when things are stable enough.</p>
<p>In addition to the new Booktype developers Borko and Johannes, Sourcefabric team members from other projects also attended with Petr representing <a href="" target="_blank">Newscoop</a> and Billy travelling from the <a href="" target="_blank">Superdesk</a> team. Billy created an equation editor plugin that adds real-time, inline equation editing to Aloha. Its a pretty big deal for many, since equation editing is a holy grail for anyone wanting to work in maths or physics and create content online. So far we'd found no adequate solution for generating equations online.</p>
<p>Billy's demo (note: Firefox only) can be found <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. Use ctrl-m to insert an equation in can also copy and paste one like this into the editor (you can find many examples online):</p>
<p><em>\begin{eqnarray*}</em><br /><em>\cos 2\theta &amp; = &amp; \cos^2 \theta - \sin^2 \theta \\&lt;/em><br /><em>&amp; = &amp; 2 \cos^2 \theta - 1.</em><br /><em>\end{eqnarray*}</em></p>
<p>You can edit the equation and it renders in real-time. You can also click out of the box and create a new equation or you can go back, click on the existing rendered equation and edit it. One small step for Booktype, one giant leap for open education resources!</p>
<h1>Find out more</h1>
<p>You can find out more about Aloha over at their <a href="" target="_blank">site</a>, more on Booktype <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> or consider signing up to one of the lists below to follow development and discussion around the topic. Happy hacking!</p>
<li>Sign up to the <a href=";id=ac87b92e95" target="_blank">#newsbeta newsletter</a> and help support open media with open code through workshops, events and online initiatives.</li>
<li>Join the <a href=";fromgroups#!forum/booktype-dev" target="_blank">Booktype developer mailing list</a> </li>
<li>Join the <a href="!forum/oerpub-dev" target="_blank">oerpub-dev group</a> to discuss and develop open source technology focused on open education resources. </li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-08-16

The collaborative spectrum of writing a book in the browser

<p><em></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Sunday means get together | Photo credit Flickr Yasin Hassan | CC BY 2.0" border="0" src="" title="Sunday means get together | Photo credit Flickr Yasin Hassan | CC BY 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Sunday means get together | Photo credit Flickr Yasin Hassan | CC BY 2.0</p></div><p></em></p>
<p><em>“Collaboration on a book is the ultimate unnatural act.”</em> <br />—Tom Clancy </p>
<p>Collaboration is part of book production and because the browser is a rich place for that we currently have even greater opportunities than ever before. While the browser opens up these possibilities, you are not forced to collaborate. You can use the same online tools to work by yourself. The point is you have the choice. There are a variety of working models to choose from that facilitate different types of collaborative book production. Let's look at a few examples starting near the 'weaker' end of collaboration and work towards the 'stronger' side of the scale. </p>
<h2>Collaboration without co-authors</h2>
<p><a href="" target="_blank">James Simmons</a> has produced many books in the browser. He does most of the work himself and characterises the process as 'collaborating without co-authors'. By this he means</p>
<li>The book will, of necessity, take more than a week to write. More than likely it will take months, and will involve much research. The main author will end up knowing much more after finishing the book than he did when he began it.</li>
<li>The book will have one main author, who will do most of the actual writing.</li>
<li>The book may or may not have other contributors.</li>
<li>The contributions of others may be informal.</li>
<li>Other contributors will not be as highly motivated as the main author, or may have their own motivations that are not the same as the main author.</li>
<li>The contributors will likely never meet face to face.</li>
<li>This could a description of publishing now except instead of working with Word files and email James did all this in the browser.</li>
<p>The first advantage James found was getting feedback became a whole lot easier. He could simply ask people to look at the work in progress online.<br />"You don't need to have a finished book to do it, either, just enough chapters to convince people that there will be a finished book at some point. [...] you'll be surprised at how helpful people can be."</p>
<p>As James progressed he learned more about the art of collaboration and how to entice people to get involved. Although he wrote most of the book, James found that he needed to inspire people to get more input: "You can try to drum up people and talk about what tasks need to be done, but in the end the best thing you can do is to try and make them want the book to exist as much as you do. If you can do that collaboration may follow."</p>
<p>As James became more proficient and confident he was able to create stronger collaborations. For his second book he got a lot of help with research on various topics, and amazingly his third book was translated into Spanish by a team of voluntary translators.</p>
<p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>A friend from work suggested using Google Translate to create a first version of the book which native speakers could correct. I decided that this wasn't such a bad idea [...] This actually helped. It is probably less scary to correct a bad translation than to be responsible for making a good one. A retired teacher who is fluent in Spanish started making corrections and she contacted native speakers that she knew and sent emails to mailing lists and others started doing work on it too. Every few days I get an email telling me that someone has made more corrections and what chapter has been corrected. It is surprising just how many people have been willing to get an account and post corrections. The retired teacher seems to be doing most of the work, and I suggested that she add her bio to the "About The Authors" chapter.</em></p>
<p>As James progressed towards richer and more rewarding collaboration, questions of credit immediately came into view. Credit starts to act not as a function of marketing but as a mechanism for documenting contributions. Participating in collaboration starts to break down the myth of the single author.</p>
<h2>Iterative Book Production</h2>
<p>Another model for online book production could be termed "Iterative Book Production". This is an idea taken almost directly from the software development process known as <a href="" target="_blank">Agile</a>. Agile is an iterative and intensely collaborative methodology that breaks off small pieces of a larger project. This allows the work to be done quickly with a number of programmers. This process occurs almost naturally in situations where books need to be maintained, extended, or updated quickly. However there has also been experiments with this kind of process for the development of original content. Agile is often aimed at producing a "minimal viable product". <a href="" target="_blank">O'Reilly</a> have applied this to book production selling one chapter (the minimum viable product) at a time and producing each in rapid succession using the Agile method. <a href="" target="_blank">FLOSS Manuals</a> have also experimented with this kind of approach although not with reference to Agile.</p>
<h2>Book Sprints</h2>
<p>However, <a href="" target="_blank">Book Sprints</a> are the most intense collaborative book production process that I know of and they offer a good insight into a strong collaboration method. A Book Sprint brings together a group of 5-12 people to produce a book in 3-5 days. There is no pre-production involved and the group is guided by a facilitator through to the finished book.</p>
<p>Usually this occurs in real space but using online book production tools. Real space is necessary to fuel the intense discussions necessary to produce a book in such a short time. However, the production itself happens in the online shared space of the browser.</p>
<p>While James' experiences highlight an asynchronous collaborative process, the Book Sprint requires a more synchronous process. As deadlines get compacted work needs to occur simultaneously. This tends to collapse single author methods even further - collaboration needs to occur quicker. The production becomes more granular. The domain of each contributor shifts to a smaller scale. Multiple voices emerge out of the text as roles change fluidly. A vast breadth of experience informs the work and ownership of content is replaced by the excitement and pride of a collaborative production. Credit takes on a more meaningful role - as a function of recognition and often presented as a story in itself highlighting the roles of each person involved in detail.</p>
<h2>Collective pride over collaborative book production</h2>
<p>Book Sprint participants almost always begin skeptically and finish with a new found belief in intense collaborative production. It is a phenomenon that must be experienced to be understood. As the participant is increasingly absorbed with the need to produce content and keep pace with their peers authorial issues fall away almost naturally. In my experience, for example, many participants feel the burden of ownership falling away. They do not have to be protective and proprietal of their ideas. In fact it is almost impossible to try, and these individuals are often liberated by a sense of sharing and openness - allowing their ideas to be part of a larger collective objective can help relieve the stress caused by holding on to them.</p>
<p>What is your opinion about collaboration and authorship? We want to get a conversation started about this. Please add your comments below.</p>
<li>Stay tuned to all the latest information about Booktype with the <a href=";id=bb3cf0c6b8" target="_blank">Booktype Pro mailing list.</a></li>
<li>#newsbeta are a series of events and discussions that help help coders and non-coders work together to build open source news tools for amazing independent media organisations. Join the <a href=";id=ac87b92e95%20" target="_blank">mailing list</a> to receive all the latest news.</li>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-08-09

Designing books in Booktype with some CSS trickery

<p> </p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Image 963" border="0" src="" title=" Macro of red HB pencil peeking through a book | Photo credit Flickr | Horia Varlan | CC BY 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption"> Macro of red HB pencil peeking through a book | Photo credit Flickr | Horia Varlan | CC BY 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>Since the audience reading this blog is diverse I will start at the beginning .... </p>
<p>First there was nothing ... and then ...</p>
<p>Ok, ok... just kidding.</p>
<p>Let's stick with web based topics for now. Here are a few points to get us started:</p>
<p>1. To design web pages and in our case books you use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and you can read more about that on the <a href="" title="CSS on Wikipedia">web</a>.</p>
<p>2. Fortunately, you don't need to understand much about CSS to get started.</p>
<p>3. I am hoping these blogposts will minimize the time spent designing your book using CSS.</p>
<p>First off here is an idea of what the basic syntax in CSS looks like:</p>
<p>part_of_book {</p>
<p>   command: value;</p>
<p>You should know certain commands like <strong>part_of_book</strong> and several others, but don't worry it's not that complicated.</p>
<p>Since we are not interested in designing a web page but rather how to format a book I will use CSS commands to refer to a printed book design.</p>
<p>You could say that the entire book would be called the <strong>body</strong> in CSS and if you want to apply an overall design to it you would use the command <strong>part_of_book</strong>.</p>
<p>I will do some tests here and play with different parts of the book. For instance, I will change the background color. The command for that is <strong>background-color<em></em>.</strong></p>
<p><strong><br /></strong>So in CSS we would write:</p>
<p>body {</p>
<p>  background-color: red;</p>
<p> </p>
<p>With that command we change the background color of our entire book to red.</p>
<p>As you can see, the line of code consists of commands on the left and values on the right. Another thing is that we always finish each line with a semicolon.</p>
<p>Go on test it.</p>
<p> </p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Advanced style sheet" border="0" src="" title="Advanced style sheet" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Advanced style sheet</p></div><p></p>
<p> </p>
<p>You can type in your css command in the <strong>Book Formatted PDF Settings</strong> and don't forget to select <strong>Override ALL previous settings with custom CSS.</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Book formated pdf settings" border="0" src="" title="Book formated pdf settings" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Book formated pdf settings</p></div><p></p>
<p>  </p>
<p>Finish the design editing with the command <strong>Publish </strong>and wait for a PDF document to be created.</p>
<p>If the whole book now has a red background then you have made your first book design using CSS!</p>
<p> </p>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-07-10

Booktype 1.5.3 released with new Control Centre

<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt="Glasses resting on a page of Arno Schmidt's 'Evening Edged in Gold' Credit Flickr | Stuart Heath | CC BY 2.0" border="0" src="" title="Glasses resting on a page of Arno Schmidt's 'Evening Edged in Gold' Credit Flickr | Stuart Heath | CC BY 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption">Glasses resting on a page of Arno Schmidt's 'Evening Edged in Gold' Credit Flickr | Stuart Heath | CC BY 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>Booktype 1.5.3 came out this week with a lot of bug fixes and new features, the most exciting of which is the Booktype Control Centre. This is a new admin interface for Booktype administrators. The Control Centre allows you to customise almost every aspect of Booktype.</p>
<li>Download the latest version from <a href="" target="_blank">Github as a zip</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">tarball</a>.<br />Read the <a href="" target="_blank">Install instructions</a></li>
<p>Users can now be created and assigned a role which affects what they can and can't do within your Booktype instance. So, for instance, you can make it possible for only administrators to create new users, or only editors to create new books. Plus, it allows you to manage the look and feel of the books you produce. Want to let users only output books as PDF files? Done and done.</p>
<p>One of Booktype's strengths is the openness of the production environment you can create. These changes are designed to allow you to hone Booktype to your organisation or community's needs, making it easier to manage the book workflow and get networks of collaborators writing.</p>
<p>Because of the Booktype Control Center, we needed to develop a new way of managing configuration, more of which you can read up on over on the <a href="" target="_blank">wiki</a>. </p>
<p>Only some parts of the code are currently using this new API, but we plan to convert Booktype in its entirety in the next release (1.5.4). Besides us developers, the new API will be very useful to administrators responsible for migrating content or daily Booktype management.</p>
<p>We have also upgraded our default to work with latest version of Django. Django 1.2 is still the minimal requirement, but now we work out of the box with Django 1.4! No more manual editing of files! This is a feature for new users, everyone else will have to manually update their old files. If it is too much work for someone (as always, the INSTALL file has information on how to do it) they can always create a new Booktype project and just copy+update it with their existing project.</p>
<p>Booktype 1.5.4 should be out in around two weeks and the plan is to have a release every fortnight from now on. What can you expect in the new release? More API cleaning, new install scripts and couple of secret projects. If you want to be up to date with our development watch our <a href="" target="_blank">github page</a>  and check my<a href="" target="_blank"> tweets</a>. </p>
<p>Got an eye for details? Check out the full <a href="">changelog</a>!</p>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-07-04

Collaboration, formats and remixing: the Booktype workshop at UCL

<p></p><div class="cs_img"><p><img alt=" University College London Quad and Hospital Photo credit | Richard Baker CC BY-NC 2.0" border="0" src="" title=" University College London Quad and Hospital Photo credit | Richard Baker CC BY-NC 2.0" /></p><p class="cs_img_caption"> University College London Quad and Hospital Photo credit | Richard Baker CC BY-NC 2.0</p></div><p></p>
<p>Booktype was featured as part of this event at University College London – <a href="" target="_blank">Working with the Page: Publishing Workshop</a></p>
<p>On day two, we looked at the tools that exist for us to produce digital and print publications and how one tool can be used to produce both. We covered how a book's content might be realised in a number of different formats depending on distribution. We looked at what "formless content" means and that "the page" is no longer a fixed container for the content of books in the digital age. We presented tutorials in both InDesign and Booktype.</p>
<p>I was really happy to be asked by Sourcefabric to run this workshop on Booktype as it gave me a chance to spread my knowledge of an online tool that I use just about everyday. I was able to use the preparation and delivery of the session to deepen my own knowledge and explore the issues involved from other perspectives.</p>
<p>As the workshop facilitator for Booktype in an academic setting, I wanted to give hands on experience as well as an overview of some of Booktype's possibilities surrounding its innovations. I took inspiration from <a href="" target="_blank">Adam Hyde</a>'s recent presentation at <a href="" target="_blank">Republica</a> to break the subject up into three areas.</p>
<p><strong>Before the Book</strong> – on-line collaboration when creating the book</p>
<p><strong>The Book</strong> - The printed book, epub, html and new formats</p>
<p><strong>After the Book</strong> – Re-use, remixing and keeping the book alive</p>
<p>The format was a half day workshop and then an open lab time to help those who wanted to use Booktype for their project. I prepared a presentation, discussion and exercise on each of the key areas of Booktype. As it worked out, rather than using remixed, public domain content, the participants were primed to use their own content to work with.</p>
<h2><strong>Booktype, attribution, ownership and privacy</strong></h2>
<p>Working with real content brought issues of attribution, ownership and privacy slap bang into the front of the room. The first features we explored were how to hide your work and how to protect it from being edited by other people.</p>
<p>In preparation, I thought about ways of sidestepping some of these anxieties by inviting participants to embrace the possibilities for new models of collaboration and the freedoms of open licenses. I had some great examples from <a href="" target="_blank">Co Design for Civic Media from an MIT group</a>,  <a href="" target="_blank">Collaborative Futures</a> and an <a href="" target="_blank">Occupy Movement</a> publication. As we started to use the software it was clear that some of the features and design make Booktype open by default. Especially the default licenses that you can choose from. This brought up a fair amount of criticism regarding the lack of choices within licenses and quite a few concerns about using an on-line collaborative tool like Booktype.</p>
<p>Through discussions in the workshop and during the breaks I picked up a lot of perspectives from academic staff concerning the following: open licenses, publishing openly on the web, what control academic journals have on publishing, different cultures of attribution and the importance of publishing in academia.</p>
<p>This kind of conversation is needed but there was a danger it can de-rail workshops. It would be sad if it limited the extent to which we can experiment and enjoy the innovative practices and outcomes that new technology and licenses can bring. In this workshop I took their concerns seriously and was honest about the fact that this is an emerging software in an emerging field. It didn’t take long before we were able to move forward as a group using and testing Booktype.</p>
<p>On a side note, I’m glad to be able to discuss these issues at a forthcoming research workshop on the <a href="" target="_blank">Digital Manual in Edinburgh</a> from the perspective of FLOSS manuals (which also uses Booktype) .</p>
<h2><strong>Formless content – Booktype as your flexible, formless friend</strong></h2>
<p>The area of the workshop that seemed to have the most impact was using Booktype as a tool designed to allow multiple outputs from a single repository to many different devices.</p>
<p>The idea that you write first and design later was seen as a key advantage to the Booktype methodology.  This can be compared to the session on InDesign in the morning where the first thing you do is create your margins and exact dimensions of the container for your text. It also became apparent that this methodology saved a lot of duplication effort (especially when preparing new editions and translations). This lowered the obstacles approaching a book production and will be important for the future of publishing in general.</p>
<p>The terminology surrounding certain on-line posts about formless content was very useful to introduce these ideas. I’ll include the links to the materials I used:</p>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">Craig Mod’s Blog on Books in the age of Ipad</a></li>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">SnarkMarket’s summary of Mod’s vocabulary and interesting comments</a></li>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">Building Books with CSS3</a></li>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">How Formless Content relates to Booktype</a></li>
<p>Here are links to Booktype resources that were practically useful during the workshop.</p>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">Book Design with css (in Booktype)</a></li>
<li><a href="" target="_blank">More info on Booktype &amp; css</a></li>
<h2><strong>Possible Booktype uses</strong></h2>
<p>After some initial concerns of <em>open-by-default</em>  on-line working spaces, there was a tangible change of mood. There was a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the ability to generate a list of possible uses for Booktype in an academic context.</p>
<li>Grammar text books created for students learning exercises</li>
<li>Training community groups associated with the University to create and share their own training resources in Booktype</li>
<li>Personal publications of University staff and students</li>
<li>Anthologies of work for departments and courses</li>
<li>Induction packs for departments</li>
<li>Lots of opportunities surrounding translations. For both community and collaborative projects</li>
<li>Working collaboratively on exam scripts</li>
<li>Many kinds of teaching materials, including reading lists, and ‘create your own reader’ for electronic reading (many trees are killed creating readers that are sometimes unread)</li>
<li>Creating new ‘editions’ of old works as a learning experience for students – creating a new forward and giving introductions to works helps give experience in re-framing and re-contextualising works to bring them up to date</li>
<li>Creating magazine books of blog posts with forwards and commentaries</li>
<li>Creative writing-a book could be used as a collaborative space for creating a writing exercise or a book could be a final goal in a creative writing task</li>
<p>At the end of our time together, there was an enthusiasm to keep experimenting with Booktype. Marita Fraser who convened the workshop has the understanding, enthusiasm and skills to take the project forward. I would recommend a UCL installation of Booktype to be a very worthwhile project for Sourcefabric to support. It is likely to create excellent case studies for how Booktype within the university would be very useful to academic staff and students.</p>
<h2><strong>Case study</strong></h2>
<p>One of the workshop participants, Novella, needed to take some work that her students had been writing and turn it into a short anthology.  Novella was keen to finish some specific tasks and chose Booktype as a suitable tool for completing it in a limited timescale.</p>
<p>Novella was able to crack straight on with her task after the Booktype workshop. There were only a few images to insert. One was placed on the first page to create a cover.There was no need to override the default layout provided by Booktype apart from outputting the book to an A5 pdf format. To print, we used the ‘booklet’ setting which allowed us to fold the A4 paper to create an A5 booklet with the pages in the right order.</p>
<p>With this task completed, Novella then went on to complete and print another short book in a couple of hours.</p>
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Posted by SourceForge Robot 2012-07-02