Digital Book Summit


Presented by Olin College of Engineering & The Society for the Contemporary Book

DATE: Saturday, October 13, 2012
TIME: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
LOCATION: Needham, MA, Olin College of Engineering, Milas Hall Auditorium
DIRECTIONS & PARKING: Please see: Directions to Olin College.
COST: Free
CONTACT: Dee Magnoni:

This day summit will bring together academics, students, designers, publishers, and technology experts. We will explore the opportunities and challenges that digital books present in terms of design, programming, pedagogy, and scholarly work. We will address issues surrounding digital publication and tenure, collaborative publication, and the promises and perils of new publication technologies. The day will include morning & afternoon keynotes as well as several break-out sessions and workshops.

Please register by Friday, September 28th by using this form: Digital Book Summit registration.

Thanks to our summit partners: Credo Reference, De Gruyter Publishing and O’Reilly Media!

Special thanks to Credo Reference for their generous refreshments sponsorship!


8:30 am Registration & Coffee, Tea, Juice

9:00 - 10:00 am Morning Keynote: The Changing Landscape of Digital Publishing
Speaker: Adam Witwer, Director, Publishing Technology at O'Reilly Media
Bio: Adam Witwer has worked in publishing for twelve years, the last eight at O'Reilly Media. At O'Reilly, he created and ran the Publishing Services division, managing print, ebook/digital development, video production, and manufacturing. Along the way, Adam led O'Reilly through process and technical transitions to position the company for a digital-first world. In his current role as Director of Publishing Technology, he creates products that explore new ways to write, develop, manage, distribute, and present digital and print books. His team is currently beta testing a next-generation authoring platform.
Watch the video here or Download the video here

10:15 - 11:45 am Workshop I: Designing and Printing Digital Fine Art Photography Books
Speaker: Dr. Helen Donis-Keller, Professor of Biology and Art, Olin College
Abstract: Making digital fine art books is no longer restricted to established publishers. Anyone with an idea and images can design and have multiple copies of a personal book printed at a reasonable cost. In this workshop we will consider how to design and print digital fine art photo-based books using Adobe Photoshop® Lightroom®. I’ll open the discussion by sharing my experiences with making three image-based books in print and electronic form. One project is a fine-art portfolio and a second book project combines an interest in art with science. The third project, designed as an installation, a self-published printed book and a handmade book, also facilitates discussion of how form changes the interaction with visual work. Comparisons of types of binding and printing offered by various companies specializing in self-published books will be included. Anyone who has thought of self-publishing image-based books in print or electronic form, or has information to share on their own book projects, should find this workshop of interest.

10:15 - 11:45 am Workshop II: Engineering the Future of Publishing
Speaker: Sanders Kleinfeld, Publishing Technology Engineer, O’Reilly Media
Abstract: The ascendance of the ebook has radically reshaped traditional conceptions of how to write, publish, and distribute a book. Just as the iPad and Kindle are transforming how readers consume everything from detective fiction to geology textbooks, publishers are transforming the traditional print-production model of desktop publishing and the printing press for the digital era. In this workshop, we provide an overview of how technical publisher O'Reilly Media is using source technology and modern Web standards to reinvent the authoring, publication, and distribution of both print and digital media. There will be three areas of focus:
* Manuscript as Source Code -- If Vim is good enough for your code, why not use it to write your novel? O'Reilly is looking beyond Word and the .doc format toward text markup languages, both Wiki-style (AsciiDoc) and XML-based (DocBook). We'll give an overview of how authoring in plaintext allows us to benefit from the same source-code management tools software engineers use every day: from collaboration and version control with Git, to find-and-replace with regex.
* Single-Source Automated Publishing -- What if you could publish both a print book and an ebook with the click of the button? We'll show how O'Reilly's publishing toolchain makes this a reality, with Python and Ruby tools that use XSL and CSS3 to automate the generation of a multitude of book formats (PDF, Kindle, and HTML) from a single DocBook XML source.
* Enhanced Ebook Content with HTML5 -- The building blocks of an ebook are the same as those of a website: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. We'll demo how O'Reilly is using the latest HTML5 technology (e.g., audio/video, Processing, D3.js) to craft beautiful digital books that are interactive, multimedia, and social.
Watch the video here or Download the video here

12:00 - 1:00 pm Lunch & Digital Book Expo

1:15 - 2:15 pm Afternoon Keynote: Developing the Learning Environment for Digital Book Content
Speaker: Mike Sweet, CEO of Credo Reference
Abstract: E-textbooks and interactive multimedia activities have caused syllabi that consist solely of chapters to read and papers to write to become outdated. This talk will begin with the evolution of e-books for teaching and learning, discussing the deconstruction of reference material and the enhancement through technology. We will discuss how content itself can be changed and reorganized to meet the student and educator needs in this evolution of the learning environment. We will also offer examples of how this new form of e-book is impacting students and educators in the classroom and online, discussing what this means to the educational environment. We'll get the conversation started before the live session in Education Thriving, an online collaborative community focused on the innovative use of educational technology.
Watch the video here or Download the video here

2:30 - 4:00 pm Workshop III: Voice, Argument, and Intellectual Property in Multimedia Scholarship: a dialogue and brainstorming session on novel modes of academic discourse
Speaker: Matthew Battles, metaLAB (at) Harvard
Abstract: Ebooks present both tantalizing opportunities and manifold challenges to scholars, publishers, and academic life writ large. What if we look beyond the affordances of the digital book to database-driven, interactive, multimedia forms of scholarly communication? What shapes can argument take in multimedia form? What is the role and potential value in conceiving publishing as an ongoing process written into research, rather than as an end result? And how do we incorporate new media and genre into academic standards, advancement, and the social forms of academic discourse? In this workshop, Matthew Battles of metaLAB at Harvard will offer an introduction to some of the lab’s provocative research into new-model publishing, database-driven scholarship and storytelling, and hybrid academic engagement, and facilitate an open-ended conversation about innovation in the modes and means of publishing. At the end of the workshop, we’ll have a map of some of the possibilities that can be discovered when digital publishing efforts look beyond the narrow confines of traditional books in digital form.

2:30 - 4:00 pm Workshop IV: The Digital Book as a Scholarly Work
Speaker: Dr. Emily Farrell & Dr. Alissa Jones Nelson, De Gruyter Publishing
Abstract: New technologies are not only changing the way we conduct research, they are also changing the way we present and disseminate our scholarly work. The publication of scholarly digital work starts from the premise that digital scholarship is integral, not incidental. The ideal digital book project team recognizes that form and content are mutually influential and not simply two distinct aspects of a publication. In addition to presenting groundbreaking research, scholarly digital books should be collaborative, easy to use, and dynamic. This workshop will explore the opportunities and challenges of digital publication from the perspective of academic publishing. We will address issues including archiving, Open Access, collaboration, technology, design, dynamic publication models, and rights. We will begin with a brief presentation of key issues and spend the majority of the time in open discussion. We will also be circulating a brief questionnaire in advance to help focus our session. If you are interested in participating, please email Alissa for access to the questionnaire:

4:15 - 4:30 pm Wrap-up and future directions

Browse the contents of Digital Book Summit:

Videos from Digital Book Summit