Friday, August 29, 2014

Methods of Presenting e-Publications

The Bonefolder ceased publication as an e-journal over a year-and-a-half ago, but is still seeing heavy regular access via a wide variety of websites or online databases. It's great to see the level of use steady. Since 2004, 554,133 page views, 385,738 unique page views for all issues combined.

The past issues are made available as downloadable PDFs from Syracuse University Libraries' digital collections server. Other journals hosted from there are also on that server as well as in our institutional repository (IR), SURFACE. While fully accessible as downloadable PDFs, that format is not interactive, i.e. does not facilitate discussion around topics in the issue via social media, embedding in other websites, nor does it have lots of "pretty" bells and whistles like page-turning...

The use of digital collections, multimedia, interactivity is a big topic in academic library circles and some of us realize that there is a lot more we can do to facilitate use (and reuse) materials of our collections. Here some really interesting articles on the issues and challenges:

There are a lot more of  those kinds of articles in the library/academic literature.

In order to experiment and gather feedback from users, a group of us at Syracuse University are going to be trying out different platforms to see how they work and how we might integrate them into other tools and workflows we are using.

Here our first, ISSUU, all bundled together in a "stack" that hopefully looks better than most of our desks...

And here, embedded, our last and perhaps best issue...

So, what do you think of this mode of publication? What are advantages, disadvantages, ...? How you you like being able to share directly to social media? Use the comment form below and let us know what you think.

As we try other platforms, we'll share and gather your feedback - thank you.

Then again, there's this...

Student Reading Practices in Print and Electronic Media
By  Nancy M. Foasberg
From College & Research Libraries, September 2014

“Despite the ever-increasing popularity of new ways of reading, the study participants read in a fairly traditional way. Most of them preferred to use print for long-form and academic reading, at least partly because they felt more comfortable annotating docu¬ments in a print environment. They read electronically a great deal, but this reading consisted primarily of brief, nonacademic materials.

Their dislike of electronic textbooks was especially striking… The University of Minnesota provides an Open Textbook Catalog, which identifies open textbooks and allows reviews; notably, the designers of the catalog offer inexpensive print on demand options for each work, acknowledging that many students dislike online textbooks.  In the midst of this attention to the digital, it is worth noting that students in the pres¬ent study were less comfortable using textbooks in an electronic format, and some of them said they usually print out the sections they use, thus negating any savings.”


  1. Interesting and timely question!

    I guess my comment would be that the choice of distribution channel and media format would always depend on the intended outcomes of the publication.

    If the aim is to convey as sense of awe at the well-produced and information-rich Bonefolder magazine? Then ISSUU is a good choice.

    Aiming to feed exchange and organic growth in a dynamic online community? Then go for fine-grained content (articles, images, individual thoughts rather than whole issues) and maximize shareability on major social media platforms.

    Or is the aim to provide an archive of useful learning and inspiration material for a largely non-digital community of professionals and hobbyists? Then keep the issue format, re-design archival browsing and retrieval for more up-to-date access methods, maximize searchability and shareability of individual articles in the archive, consider SEO efforts.

    My point would be that designing a distribution channel and a media format for online publication is always contingent on intended uses and intended users. That may be a fruitful place to start your exploration.

    Finally, on a personal note, I want to thank you for what you have already done. I have found the Bonefolder archive enormously useful and valuable, I have learnt a lot about bookbinding, and I have been inspired to several experiments with very pleasing results. Thank you!

    All the best,

    Jonas Löwgren, Sweden
    (amateur bookbinder with a daytime job as a scholar in interaction design and collaborative media)

  2. Jonas,
    Thank you for your comment and complete agree with the points you raise regarding "the choice of distribution channel and media format would always depend on the intended outcomes of the publication." It's something I have been thinking about as well, as have colleagues at the library where I work. The Bonefolder provided a good excuse for experimenting with different delivery tools as it gets good readership and is a "closed" publication. One of the points raised in discussions between faculty and libraries is that Institutional Repositories (and most digital collections) are "dead" in that the content just sits there with no conversation/scholarship easily possible around them. I'd like to see if there are ways we can change that.

    Best, Peter