Category Archives: Print Media

What, Really? Wow!

I’ve been away from the blog for over a month now. My sincere apologies–I took a little summer break. While I wasshocked gone, there have been several things that I’ve seen and wanted to write about, but I just didn’t. So, here’s a quick little compendium of exciting items that have occurred that deserve more real estate than I’m giving them, but I’m sure enough has been written already without my adding too much hackneyed commentary. So, here goes:

1. Razorfish (which I just discovered today has been sold to Publicis!) has just published a fantastic study on how social media influences purchasing decisions. As far as I know, this is the first of its kind and will likely be discussed by marketers for years to come. Especially marketers looking to understand how social media can be measured. You can access the study by clicking here.

2. On the same tip, AltimeterCharlene Li’s  blog, has recently reported the release of a study that Li co-wrote with Wetpaint. The study shows the correlation between social media engagement and a brand’s financial performance. This is another one for the history books, and another one that marketers can point to when trying to make a case to management for getting involved in this new media space. 

3. Free, by Chris Anderson was released online for the low, low price of…well, guess. Learn more about the book by listening to Anderson discuss it in this podcast.

4. Inmagic, a database software company that has its products in places like libraries and NASA, is poised on the cutting edge of social knowledge management.  After the SLA Conference at the end of June, Inmagic blogged about the different ways the information revolution was being dealt with by SLA and by Enterprise 2.0, and how to bridge the gap. This short and poignant piece is very telling and shows why Inmagic is leading the way in social librarianship.

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5. Last but not least, this story was in the NY Times today, on textbooks of the future. The article says that California and a couple of other states are beginning to experiement with digital textbooks. I am all for the digital revolution, but where do we draw the line? There are pros and cons on both sides of this issue–I’ll just mention one of each that occurred to me. Pro: Easy updating of information that would quickly be outdated in paper textbooks. Con: Easy revising of history, for evil, not good. Plus, where is the permanence? And how can we ensure that the important info will be saved in a format that will be easily accessed later? What about the digital divide? Do kids without computers at home just not get to study? OK, that’s more than one con, that’s several. Still in the early stages, this initiative will need careful consideration. Plus, isn’t California bankrupt? Where are they getting the money for this sort of thing? 

Hoping to be back again in short order. Until then…

Kindl-ing Affection For E-Books

The Wall Street Journal has a thought-provoking article on How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write. (This link will probably expire shortly, considering the WSJ’s policy for selling their archive.)

kindle_booksIn the article, Steven Johnson explains how he believes that the book’s migration to the digital realm will affect the way humans read, write and sell books:

“It will make it easier for us to buy books, but at the same time make it easier to stop reading them. It will expand the universe of books at our fingertips, and transform the solitary act of reading into something far more social. It will give writers and publishers the chance to sell more obscure books, but it may well end up undermining some of the core attributes that we have associated with book reading for more than 500 years.

There is great promise and opportunity in the digital-books revolution. The question is: Will we recognize the book itself when that revolution has run its course?”

The answer to that question is, “probably not,” because, if a digital book were printed out, it would probably look like the original manuscript for On the Road, but with variations. In other words, as the author of the WSJ article continues,

“The Kindle doesn’t even have page numbers — it has an entirely new system called “locations” because the pagination changes constantly based on the type size you choose to read. If you want to write a comment about page 32 of “On Beauty,” what do you link to? The Kindle location? The Google Book Search page? This sounds like a question only a librarian would get excited about, but the truth is, until we figure out a standardized way to link to individual pages — so that all the data associated with a specific passage from “On Beauty” point to the same location — books are going to remain orphans in this new world.”

A colleague points out that chapter numbers don’t change, and paragraph numbers don’t change, so if one wanted to cite a specific passage from an e-book in the future, it might  look like:

Smith, Zadie (2005). On Beauty, (ch 3, somewhere within paragraph 12). New York: Penguin.

Yes, he’s probably right. Only a librarian could get excited about this stuff. But that’s why the world needs librarians. When you migrate information to a system that ostensibly makes that information infinitely more searchable, it only makes sense that the information should also be more findable!

This is where librarians come in – not only developing policy to enable users to find digital information, but also ensuring that the information is properly searchable. It’s not the end of librarianship, it’s the end of librarianship as we know it.

Here’s what we do know: print is in trouble.

For this reason, more publications are going digital.

So, what we can do is join in the dialog and become essential parts of the migration. We can help make things happen. And therefore, ensure our place in the history of the digital migration. Because, as Steven Johnson puts it, this is nothing less than a revolution – something on par with the invention of the printing press, which changed the way we gather, store and process information forever.

This is the “AHA” moment: the digital revolution.

It’s About Time: Print and Digital Merge

It’s been announced that the Washington Post will merge its print and Online newsrooms. The executive editor, Marcus Brauchli said,

“the reorganization was designed to ‘create new reporting groups, streamline editing desks and anticipate the impending integration of our print and digital news operations.’

‘We want to empower journalists and encourage them to work across departments and platforms,’ he said.

‘A single editor ultimately ought to be able to oversee all versions of a story, whether it appears in print, online or on a BlackBerry or iPhone.'”

Way to go, Washington Post and Marcus Brauchli! By taking this chance, you have stepped forward into the 21st century, finding ways to cut costs and potentially save a great paper from the sad fate of several others. 

The Internet has changed how we humans absorb and search for information, especially news. The way we read print newspapers is entirely different from the way we read news Online. The news Online is strictly targeted to us and our interests. So, as a friend pointed out, if you’re a goth, you’re going to search for goth news, and you won’t necessarily be exposed to reggae news, or salsa news.  

But news is news, and the news is going Online, and no one can stop it. And, there’s no way that it is going away. The Internet changed everything, just as the printing press did, and the aftereffects have been devastating to the print media industry.

But, as the Washington Post shows, you either change with the times, or you die. The WaPo chooses life! And it is a smart way to go. 

But, just as electronic media seems to be supplanting print, who’d want to take a Kindle to the beach? OK, you could argue that with a $350 price tag, you’d never want to let it out of your sight. But I digress.

Print media may be doomed, but it will be a long while, if ever, before it goes away completely. We still like the purely portable book. We like to be able to browse through a magazine and be taken away by some graphic or sidebar. We are used to the feel of paper in our hands, and might prefer to leisurely thumb through a book instead of zero in on one sentence or word.

IN*TANDEM, a new Online magazine, certainly understands this. Using your mouse, you can virtually turn the pages! This is a good example of how print and digital can be melded. It doesn’t solve all of the problems, nor will it please everyone, but it is one way of doing things. Plus, it’s COOL!