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Online Publishing and Visual Sociology

26/09/2008

Following on from the Live Sociology workshop the other week, I’ve been thinking a lot about online publishing, blog and hard copy, and e-books (both onscreen and as mobile hardware).  Along the way, thanks to Jan Brauer’s Gono-Gono arts blog, I’ve stumbled upon http://issuu.com/

Issuu allows you to upload PDFs into a book format.   This can then be ‘read’ online – and perhaps more importantly – copyright protected or made available for embedding into blogs, networks or wikis etcetera. Shown above is an example of a book being previewed in its embedded form. The pages are turning automatically, with pictures of smiling students shown, although the accompanying text is too small to make out. Links can be followed though to full screen viewing pages, where the ‘book’ comes into it’s own.  It’s a good looking thing with excellent zoom and good resolution (although a little small in preview here on my humble blog). Although I wonder how accessible it can be as stand alone Flash device, clearly there is a PDF equivalent that can be requested or made available from the source (for advice on making Accessible PDFs, check out the UK’s JISC TechDis pages on Making the Most of PDFs).

A quick thumb through issuu’s library shows that Edinburgh University is already using it as a platform for their prospectus (shown above), with academics illustrating their publication CVs also.  This appears to be a tool yet to reach any critical mass, and graphical books appear to me to be where the platform works best, however, an interesting development for PDF viewers and vehicles all the same?

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