E-Books als eigenständiges Medium

there is an english version of this post

In den vergangenen Wochen habe ich mich recht intensiv mit E-Books befasst. Ursprünglich haben mich E-Books als Medium interessiert, das auf E-Readern und Tablets gelesen werden kann – oder auch nicht. Mittlerweile steht das Medium selber im Fokus. E-Books haben meiner Ansicht nach ein grosses Potential, das heute bei weitem noch nicht ausgeschöpft wird. Ich habe im Beitrag über E-Books als Katalysator für Veränderungsprozesse in Bibliotheken einige Gedanken geäussert, welchen Einfluss E-Books auf Geschäftsprozesse und Aufgaben von Bibliotheken haben können.

Doch es geht noch weiter. Mehrere wichtige aktuelle Trends aus dem Hochschulumfeld finden sich im Thema E-Books wieder: die Selbstproduktion digitaler Lehrbücher, die Publikation unter Open Access, E-Books als multimediale und interaktive Medien im E-Learning, die Bereitstellung von Inhalten zur mobilen Nutzung und noch mehr…

Das neue Format EPUB 3 öffnet verschiedene Türen. Momentan haben wir es bei den E-Books noch weitgehend mit einer elektronischen Version des gedruckten Buches zu tun. Wie bei früheren Entwicklungsschüben bildet das neue Medium E-Book zunächst einmal das alte Medium gedrucktes Buch ab. Dafür ist das Format PDF (als PostScript-Datei) wunderbar geeignet, da es ja der Druckausgabe eines auf dem Computer generierten Dokuments entspricht. Layout, Schrift, Zeilen- und Seitenumbruch entsprechen vollkommen dem zum Printer geschickten Dokument. Das Format EPUB hat in seiner ursprünglichen Form schon einige Elemente aufgeweicht: so geht der ursprüngliche Zeilen- und Seitenumbruch verloren, das Layout passt sich dem darstellenden Gerät an – genauso wie Webseiten im Browser. Gegenüber dem gedruckten Buch verändern sich die Seitenzahlen, wodurch die wissenschaftliche Zitierung im herkömmlichen Stil erschwert wird. Und durch die Möglichkeit, auch Videos und Töne in ein Dokument zu integrieren, bewegte es sich schon etwas weiter vom gedruckten Pendant weg. Doch das war nur der Anfang.

Das Format EPUB 3 bildet nun die Ausgangslage für eine Emanzipation des E-Books vom gedruckten Buch. Technisch gesehen ähnelt ein E-Book im EPUB-Format einer Website. EPUB 3 besteht aus zusammengepackten Dateien im Format HTML5, aus Mediendateien wie Rastergrafiken (z.B. im Format JPEG), Video oder Ton. Vektorgrafiken im Format SVG können interaktive Elemente enthalten. Interaktion kann optional auch mit Javascript programmiert werden, was ebenfalls aktueller Webtechnologie entspricht. Diese Technologien können dazu eingesetzt werden, um E-Books im EPUB 3-Format mit interaktiven Elementen auszustatten, wie wir sie aus dem Web bereits kennen. Lehrbücher lassen sich mit Prüfungs- oder Kontrollfragen ergänzen. Lernkontrollen können also im E-Book direkt erfolgen. Man kann Grafiken so gestalten, dass sie beim Anklicken oder bei Berührung via Touchscreen verändert werden. Dreidimensionale Objekte können gedreht werden und vieles mehr. Multimedia-Inhalte wie Videos oder Sound lassen sich integrieren und abspielen. Dies alles sind reine Funktionen des Formats EPUB 3, die von geeigneten Programmen (sprich: Apps) auf PCs oder Tablets abgerufen werden können. Aktuell sind es noch nicht viele Geräte und Programme, doch dies wird sich bald ändern.

Technisch bieten sich somit zahlreiche Möglichkeiten. Nun stellt sich die Herausforderung, diese Funktionen sinnvoll in E-Books zu integrieren. Es ist genau die gleiche Fragestellung wie sie auch im Bereich E-Learning die letzten Jahre diskutiert wurde. Entsprechend sind die Lösungsansätze auch hier zu suchen. Technische Machbarkeit alleine genügt nicht. Es müssen didaktische und pädagogische Konzepte entwickelt werden, wie diese vielfältigen Funktionen sinnvoll in neue Medien integriert werden können. Aus dem E-Learning liegt hier ein reicher Erfahrungsschatz vor.

Doch überschneiden sich jetzt die Produktion von Lehrinhalten mit der Publikation von Forschungsergebnissen. Es drängt sich also eine Zusammenarbeit der E-Learning-Stellen mit den Hochschulbibliotheken auf. Letztere sind für die Publikation der an der Hochschule selbst produzierten E-Books unter Open Access verantwortlich. Als neue Aufgaben könnten die Beratung von Hochschulangehörigen beim Produzieren der E-Books sowie die Bereitstellung einer entsprechenden Publikationsplattform – etwa im Sinne eines erweiterten Dokumentenservers – zum Portfolio der Bibliothek hinzu kommen. Die Beschreibung der E-Books mit geeigneten Metadaten wäre eine Erweiterung des bisherigen Bibliotheksauftrags.

Wir befinden uns an einem spannenden Punkt, an dem wichtige Weichen für die Zukunft gestellt werden. Verlage, Buchhändler, Hochschulen und Bibliotheken müssen ihre Rollen neu definieren, wollen sie weiterhin eine Rolle im Bereich des elektronischen Publizierens spielen. Wer sich nicht bewegt, hat in diesem Spiel schlechte Karten. Und ich sehe eine zunehmende Bedeutung der Kooperation innerhalb der Hochschulen, um unterschiedliches Know-how gemeinsam zur Produktion und Publikation multimedialer, interaktiver und offener E-Books zu nutzen.

Sorry, this post is in German first – but I’ll try to translate it as soon as possible…

Innovation Management in and for Libraries

I was invited as a keynote speaker to the conference Emerging Technologies in Academic Libraries (#emtacl12) in Trondheim. On October 2 I had a talk about innovation management in and for libraries. It’s not the first time I talked about this topic, but I tried to work it out a little bit in more general way. So innovation management as we introduced it at ETH-Bibliothek is still important, but it is now one important example to me. There are more libraries in Germany and Switzerland that implemented an innovation management. Usually the first step is to create the position of an innovation manager or to indicate a staff member to be responsible for the innovation process.

I structured the implementation of an innovation management into seven steps:

Step 1: Create an Organizational Framework
Step 2: Define the innovation process
Step 3: Introduce an Idea Management
Step 4: Involve Staff
Step 5: Involve Customers (Open Innovation)
Step 6: Search systematically for Ideas
Step 7: Cultivate your Product Portfolio

I am convinced that this organizational framework is important to institutionalize innovation management in libraries.  But in fact, most important is a culture, a spirit of innovation. This can not be replaced by organization and management methods. And it is decisive that the library’s management team lives this spirit. The main task of innovation management is therefore to create a framework in which the innovation culture and spirit can grow.

I am very much interested in examples of libraries that have already introduced a kind of an innovation management. If your library did, I would be very interested in some information about the way it was done. Don’t hesitate to contect me. You may write a commentary to this blog post or send me an email (see >contact).

E-Books as Catalyst for Processes of Change in Academic Libraries

This is a summary of my article published in BuB – Forum Bibliothek und Information 64 (2012) S.604-608.

E-books are not merely a new medium increasingly being offered to users of academic libraries. E-books have the potential to initiate or to accelerate the processes of change within the core responsibilities of librarianship – acquisition, basic cataloging, descriptive cataloging – and even ultimately the use of media. In my article I describe how e-books can be a catalyst for greater transformations.

It is undisputable that e-books have found their place in academic libraries. But scientific support for this assertion is not (yet) possible. Statistical data as collected for library performance indexes or reports does not have a unique category for e-books. Even the definition of the term E-Book is still generally unclear. Another question arises with the definition of holdings – what does it mean for a library’s holdings if there are temporarily licensed e-books? Or if the library offers a catalogue of e-books for Patron Driven Acquisition that are only bought when a user wants to download the document? Furthermore e-books accelerate some more changes in the process of acquisition. There are new business models and new ways of selection. The role of reference librarians will change when the selection of books is no more their main task. Then also cataloguing is influenced by e-books. If a library gives only access to a document hosted on the server of a publisher, there will be no more reason to catalogue it separately in every library. Automatic cataloguing, extraction of metadata will be more important than today. And users won’t care about a reduction of quality of metadata – as long as they can find the documents easily.

Another impact of e-books is how scientific scholarly documents are read. It is a standard that e-books are published like volumes of an e-journal: each chapter is a separate PDF document (according to an article in a volume). The download of a complete book is not allowed because this would be a copy of a complete work. This makes users read only the chapter they are really interested in and they don’t read the context of the information. This leads to a fragmentation of information. Another aspect is the bad usability of this kind of documents: the files have no specific name and have no integrated metadata. So, if you download a file, you have to rename it and organize the files on your desktop in order to find the information later on. Another issue with e-books (and e-journals) is the exclusion of non-members of the faculty. This is quite a serious problem for academic libraries in Europe, because they are usually also libraries open to the public. But this user group has got no remote access to the licensed electronic documents. A solution could be to lend the e-books electronically (e-lending). This service is offered more and more by public libraries, but hardly by academic libraries. Another question is how the usage of e-books on mobile devices as e-reader or tablets can be supported by libraries. One important task is to offer e-books in a format that can be used on these devices. Another service can be training and support for the usage of tablets and e-readers.

There are signs that e-books will develop to a new kind of media type that differs clearly from a electronic version of a print monograph. Publishers already try to offer e-books on large platforms. There the e-books – or the chapters of e-books – are linked to other resources, aggregated with metadata, eventually by linked data. Users will be able to annotate selected documents, store them and maybe share them to others. But also publishing and distribution e-books could change fundamentally. New tools give the possibility to researchers and teachers to produce enhanced e-books on their own or (maybe) supported by the library. Self produced e-books and textbooks then could be published on document servers under open access Openly Accessible.

The role of academic libraries in this context is hardly to predict. There are a lot of risks and also chances. The libraries could give support to new publishing models and offer new services to researchers and teachers. But they need to collaborate with other institutions like IT services or multimedia productions.

We find ourselves at the onset of a new development and are still lacking basic data and insights. The development of e-books and their effects on libraries, booksellers and publishing will be a central area of research for library science in the coming years.

#icamp12: unconference competence

The infocamp 2012 is history. Organized as a barcamp by a team of HTW Chur (Swiss Institute for Information Science) it offered great opportunities to discuss interesting topics in small groups. There was no fixed program, only a quite open structure for the two days. So we started with an introduction of the 40 participants, who could suggest topics for the workshops. In the end we agreed to six topics that were discussed (in German) in two sessions and three parallel workshops. On the second day we chose some more topics. So you had to decide which workshop you wanted to attend – and that was not easy at all… (that describes the term „unconference competence“ – to know, how a unconference works…).

The topics were:

  • newLis – a new open access journal for LIS
  • Support for research (virtual research environments)
  • Information competence and remote users
  • Social media and marketing
  • Open educational resources, digital textbooks
  • Professional image of librarians

and on the second day:

  • support for (e-)publishing
  • newLIS (2)
  • Wikimedia workshop

You may wonder, if such an open format without prepared papers and presentations could really work. It does! We had much more interaction and discussions on a higher level than on most conferences I’ve ever been. Of course, it depends on the presence of some competent participants. And there were at the infocamp, for example some librarian 2.0 and well known blogger and twitterer like @lambo, @xenzen, @pampel, @scinoptica, @optimisc, @EvoMRI – and of course many others not represented on Twitter… The spirit of the infocamp was to listen to everybody and to be really interested in other people’s opinions. After the discussion in workshops the participants came together to plenary sessions where the results were presented and discussed one more time. Of course, we were not able to present solutions. But the two workshops on the topic on an new LIS-journal (#newLIS) resulted in a position paper that will be spread in the community after the unconference. Our suggestion is to create a new Open Access journal on LIS topics, in which as well scientific articles as reports about projects in libraries and students works can be published. It should also (or at first) include an overlay journal with aggregated content from trusted sources (blogs, journals). There was a statement that it could be like PLoS One and be called LIS ONE. I wonder if it could have been possible to create such a substantial position paper during a traditional congress? I guess not…

So, we are looking forward to the #icamp13! And thanks to the organizational committee with @karstens, @wolfgangsemar, @sabweb, @nadieschdaB!

Innovation Management in Practice

These days my new publication about Innovation Management in Practice, that I wrote together with Ursula Georgy, was published in the Praxishandbuch Informations- und Bibliotheksmarketing, edited by Ursula Georgy and Frauke Schade. Unfortunately, this book is not available under Open Access, so you will need to get it either in your library (recommended) or buy the book or the article (for 30 € on DeGruyter’s platform). I want to give here a short overview over the content of the article.

The idea was to give on the one hand a theoretical background (mainly by Ursula Georgy) and on the other hand to illustrate this with examples out of the experiences made especially at ETH-Bibliothek, where we introduced an innovation management already three years ago. The article contains the following chapters:

  • Innovation and innovation strategy
  • Innovation process
  • Organization of innovation
  • Idea management
  • Creativity techniques
  • Innovation circles
  • Open innovation
  • Development of innovation strategies
  • Controlling
  • Communication

Ursula Georgy, Rudolf Mumenthaler: Praxis Innovationsmanagement. In: Georgy, U., & Schade, F. (Eds.). (2012). Praxishandbuch Bibliotheks- und Informationsmarketing. De Gruyter, S.319-340.

New Open Access Journal newLIS in discussion

Finally I also joined the discussion about the idea of a new German open access journal in Library and Information Science (working title: newLIS). My colleague Karsten Schuldt described the ongoing discussion and its background in our Blog at HTW Chur (InfoWissChurBlog).

The main question is if we need another journal that could challenge the existing commercial journals.  The important German journal Bibliotheksdienst will be published by de Gruyter – and they set an embargo of 12 months (instead of 3 months so far). There are of course some independent Open Access Journals like LIBREAS or the Swiss RESSI, published mainly in French by our colleagues from Geneva. Do we need another one or should we support these existing platforms? I decided now to declare that I am ready to participate at the discussions and preparations for newLIS and not only talk about Open Access. I am convinced that it is very important that the new project is also supported by institutions like Universities (and their libraries) and the Universities of Applied Sciences.

There will be a good occasion for further discussions at our Infocamp in Chur on September 7-8: #icamp12. Who else is ready to join the discussion? You may contribute on the newLIS blog or in the Open Knowledge Pad.

Working with mobiles in a scientific context

Today I held a presentation about working with mobiles (especially the iPad) in an academic context at the assembly of Swiss Law Libraries in Porrentruy (canton Jura). The slides (in German) are published on SlideShare. I outlined the basic differences between working on a PC/laptop and on a tablet, namely the iPad. There are some apps you need, then it works quite well: especially Dropbox to store and access your documents from anywhere and from any device, and GoodReader to take notes and comments and to highlight in PDF files. If you are a member of a university access to licensed documents (e-books, e-journals) is easy with the integrated VPN connection. iCloud supports the synchronization of text documents (in Pages, but also in Word format), presentations (in Keynote, but also in PowerPoint format) and of spreadsheets from iPad to your PC or Mac. But iCloud is a proprietary service in the Apple ecosystem and not yet perfectly integrated into OS X. In OS Mountain Lion this issue should be solved, see „Documents in the Cloud“ on Apple’s homepage (www.apple.com/chde/osx/). There are also some apps supporting e-learning – like mTouch to work with Moodle, iTunesU for podcasts or Adobe Connect to participate to distant learning and video conferencing.

And I also mentioned tools to get and share information like Flipboard, Zite and Pocket or Mendeley for reference management. As a conclusion I think that tablets support learning and teaching well, but there are always some workarounds needed, for example to exchange documents with other platforms. And typing is faster and more comfortable with a Laptop, if you don’t want to carry a bluetooth keyboard around…

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Gray screen appears on iMac during startup – and how the problem was solved

Subtitle: the usefulness of a backup

On Friday I just had to print out a document on my iMac at home. When I wanted to start it, the well-known gray screen appeared – and didn’t disappear anymore… But I needed this document really instantly. The first thing I could do, was to plug the external hard disk with my backup into my laptop (MacBook Air). And to my surprise I didn’t have to restore it to my too small hard drive, but could browse through the files on the HD and finally found the needed document, opened it on my laptop and printed it out. Mac’s backup system Time Machine is really very useful, indeed…

The next day I tried all the steps recommended by Apple’s support on the page Mac OS X: Gray screen appears during startup in order to fix the problem.

  • I performed a safed boot – but it didn’t help.
  • I reset the NVRAM / PRAM – but it didn’t work.
  • I restarted from the install disk and performed a disk check and a disk repair – but the gray screen reappeared again.
  • I checked cables and power source, removed all devices, but had no third party RAM or internal hardware to remove.

So, there was only one thing I could do before buying a new PC: 

  • I inserted the utility disk, performed an erase of the hard disk and a new installation of the system from the backup.

I didn’t really believe that this could help. And I was glad to use Time Machine really seriously every day. So I didn’t risk a data loss when the operation went wrong (after erasing the HD). The procedure took four hours – then came the moment, when I restarted my iMac – and there was the login window! I could login, the system started as nothing ever happened… I just had to update some settings (E-Mail, Dropbox, iTunes) and I could postpone buying a new PC 😉

So have you already made a backup of your system today?

Zite: a personalized magazine

A new colleague at HTW Chur (thanks to Tanja) gave me a very useful hint: When I mentioned Flipboard as one of my favorite apps for the iPad, she recommended me Zite, another personalized magazine.

Zite, first page with list of sections

Compared to Flipboard it is more interactive and dynamic.

Zite evaluates millions of new stories every day, looking at the type of article, its key attributes and how it is shared across the web. Zite uses this information to match stories to your personal interests and then delivers them automatically to your iPad or iPhone.

…and also to your Andorid device, you can add. Customizing your Zite you connect it with your Twitter, Google Reader, Delicious and/or Pocket accounts. To bring the personal content, Zite keeps track of how you use the app (and they confirm that they won’t sell any of your personal data, but may use it to improve relevance…). After connecting Zite shows you some sections you may be interested – and in my case it worked. So I can choose from the sections Gadgets, Social Media, Technology, iPad, Mobile and others. Of course there is also a possibility to customize your magazine and add further sections. The difference to Flipboard is that Zite doesn’t only display the latest posts from Twitter, Facebook or Google Reader, but selects the most relevant articles from theses different channels. The source (Twitter, Facebook…) is not displayed. Flipboard’s strength is the very beautiful rendering of the difference sources. Zite looks more like a newspaper, but I like it nevertheless…

Personalization of an article on Zite

But Zite is more than that: You can rate articles („did you enjoy reading this?“) or confirm that you want more from the same contributor or on the same subject. Then Zite learns and  should give you even better personalized information that fit to your interests. Of course, Zite offers also the possibility to share articles on different platforms – from Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn to Evernote, Instapaper, Pocket or Delicious. Not bad at all… So there’s a chance that Zite could become one of my favorite apps…

New Stack on Digitale Bibliothek Schweiz on Delicious

I’ve just created a new stack on Delicious about digital libraries in Switzerland. It is also the subject of our research project Digitale Bibliotheken in der Schweiz (DiBiSuisse) we started these days at HTW Chur. You can find more information about the project (in German) on our blog InfoWissChurBlog, where we (that means Karsten Schuldt and Rudolf Mumenthaler) published the first White Paper about the topics of the project.

Now I’ve collected some web resources on the topic and I decided to put them on Delicious in a stack called Digitale Bibliothek Schweiz. Hope you follow the stack and join the discussion!

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