MSc Information Management at UWE Bristol

UKSG Conference and Forum: new digital formats   

Posted by Paul Matthews | 0 Comments 

Conference report by Lara Taffer, MSc student

In November, I was able to attend the UKSG November 2015 conference and forum in London.  The opening remarks given by Jeremy Upton acknowledged his coming to the conference with many questions, and expectations to leave with many others.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  The conference was incredibly informative as well as thought-provoking, touching on the future of the book, digital publishing, e-books, open access, and collaborative publishing efforts and many other topics that are inextricably linked to the library and information professions.

The first presentation given by Professor Geoffrey Crossick was an inspiring talk that set the tone for the event. His report findings and remarks about the history, culture, and continued importance of monographs and the implications of open access long-form publications in our ever-changing world were echoed throughout the day. Print books and long-form monographs are not going anywhere, as they are part of the bedrock of the institutions of academia and research.  Librarians and bibliophiles rejoice! (You can read his report here.)

However, as the day progressed, the message was clear that we, as members of the knowledge community – students, academics, librarians, publishers, or otherwise – must accept and appreciate how e-books and other digital formats are becoming more prevalent in our work, studies, and everyday lives.  While the formats of long-form publications may change, they remain an integral part of how to embody a work of research, present arguments, and communicate knowledge and information, despite the claims of “digital disruption.”  Instead of attempting to combat this disruption, many of the speakers agreed that we need to assess our problems with digital formats differently.

This point was perhaps best exhibited during the student panel.  The students agreed that print books were important in their studies, but they acknowledged that the e-book plays a large role as well.  As a fellow student, I found myself forming my own answers to the moderator’s questions and reflecting upon my own experiences with e-books.  The student panel also highlighted some of their expectations and suggestions for improvement for e-books, stressed the need to have “ownership” of the digital item as one would have with a print book, suggested increasing multimedia and interactive content, and brought up the possibilities of adding in responsive design and improving the overall quality of graphics in e-books.

One more presentation that I found interesting, especially as a student of library science and information management, was the talk given by Donald J. Waters of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that in part highlighted how different university libraries were pairing with university presses to come up with innovative partnerships to facilitate open access digital publishing initiatives at their respective institutions.  Open access was indeed one of the most salient themes of the day.  In fact, on both days, the founder of OAPEN and DOAJ were present, and I am glad to have found out about these organizations!

The forum on the following day was a kind of “Roman style” forum, with exhibit booths set up, and people mingling around the room.  I was able to speak with different people of the publishing and information management industry, including representatives from JSTOR, Oxford University Press, Cambridge Core, and Ubiquity Press, as well as many others.  Talks were scheduled throughout the day, so you could come and go from the forum as you pleased.  The talks centered around user experience, design, and simplicity for websites, e-books, and all things digital.  One of the most interesting presentations of the day was given by the creator of SeeSearch.  I can’t fully describe how cool her software was, so you should just check out the demos here!

It would be impossible to cram all the information and insights I gained from attending the conference, so here are a few more links!

Open Library of the Humanities

Knowledge Unlatched & Presentation on the project’s next phase!

FutureLib @ Cambridge University & Using Ethnography for a better user experience

JISC & HEI’s as Publishers

Open Educational Resources in Developing Countries
In Malta
Meeting the needs of researchers

Is the monograph in crisis? & Collaborative Writing “Sprints”

image © Jonas Smith

tags: Professional Knowledge, Conferences
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