Q: What is this talk about? Is it about eBooks? websites? OERs? Open Textbooks?
A: All of the above - it is important up front to understand that many of this distinctions are fictions based on the past that incumbents use to keep existing business models intact or that people adopt in coming to new technologies through old lenses

Like any new technology, ebooks CAN simply replicate the form of its predecessor, but they DON'T HAVE TO.

Digital technologies and computing have the tendency to
  • reify existing (hidden or implicit) practices while at the same time
  • liberating content from form and
  • freeing us from the conventional constraints of space and time

Part 1 - Choices

Affordances - "a quality of an object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action" (wikipedia)
Networks - one copy used by many; left in place; allows for collaboration
Digital - its form is not its content; infinite copyability; infinite changeability/versions - it does not need to be "final" or "finished," iterable, new versions
Openness - serendipity as operating principle; can't guarantee if you share openly it will happen, but CAN guarantee if you don't share openly, it WON'T

Variables that these affordances allow us to consider
Who Authors?
Who Reads/Uses?
How they Author?
How they Read (form)?
How they Read (interaction)?

Who Authors?
Single Author
Multiple (Known) Authors
Multiple Authors, some unknown
Multiple Authors (including students)

Who Reads/Uses?
My students?
Any student?
My co-instructors?
Any instructor?

How they Author?
Written on one's own on the desktop (word)
Written on one's own on the network (google docs)
Written with another, but not collaboratively (google docs, wordpress chapters)
Written with others, colloboratively and asynchronously (wiki)
Written with others, collaboratively and synchronously (booki, etherpad)

How they Read (form)?
Online (web browser)
In print (themselves, or bound via service or bookstore)

How they Read (interaction)?
On their own?
With others?
Annotatable? Annotations Shareable? Outside of closed platform?
Can they contribute? Comment? Fork/Derive?

Picking the solution that is right for you is a process of finding a balance between

your current practice and skill levels

access to infrastructure and the technical realities of your setting (e.g. bookstore's ability to do print-on-demand, existing vendor/format requirements
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the realistic potential for serendipity (nature of material, nature of discipline and networks/communities that exist around it and that you participate in or know about)

the needs of your primary readership (and potential future one's where possible to anticipate

Part 2 - Examples

(for each describe potential outcomes, shortcomings and/or challenges and ideally showing working examples/end products!!!)

1. Desktop Tool (Open Office/Sigil) to eBook

2. Mediawiki / Wikieducator (& book creator & pediapress)

2a? Connexion?

3. Wordpress / Press Books (& / anthologize)

4. etherpad / booki (synchronous, book sprint)

Part 3 Misc Other stuff & Conclusion


Who Reads/Uses?
Open License?
Open formats?
Openly accessible/findable?

What is the primary goal in creating the Open Textbook?
  • Save money for my students?
  • Collaborate with other authors?
  • Offer a platform for students to further collaborate on?

What is the primary model for authoring the textbook?
  • A single author writing the book
  • Multiple authors writing individual chapters
  • Multiple authors co-authoring all chapters
  • Multiple authors writing individual chapters, reviewing/editing each others work

If collaborators are welcome, is the project open to anonymous or unknown collaborators?