Thursday, October 4, 2012


I have a conjecture: virtuality generates actuality. The more we work over the internet the more we have to go and meet each other In Real Life, even if that means going halfway around the world. And sometimes you end up talking with people in a way that faithfully simulates your online communities.

The team works from four different states. To do that we use a lot of web based tools. (Our latest adoption, which we just love, is Flowdock.) But we also take the time to travel and spend some face-to-face time, which is needed to nourish the parts of relationships that can wither with online-only communication. Also it's fun.

I hope the coming month is fun for me. It will be exhausting for sure.

Today I start a month of travel with a trip to Columbus, Ohio. I'll be giving a keynote speech to open the LITA National Forum.  I'll talk a bit about, but mostly I'll be talking about how we can work together to build a public sector for digital books, of which is a small component of a SYSTEM of many parts. And yes, when I say "we" I'm including you. Yes, even if "you" are googlebot.

I just looked, and the session is nominally an hour and a half. And I've honed my pitch down to a minute. So there will be lots of time to rant like a lunatic about looking into the abyss.

Saturday I get to spend 7 hours back home in New Jersey, United willing, and then it's off to Tools of Change Frankfurt, a one day meeting in advance of the Ginormous Frankfurt Book Fair. I'm on a panel discussing "mission driven publishing":
Though some might say no one is in publishing for the money, this Innovators Track panel is devoted to some of the most daring, and caring new publishing ventures we have come across. Learn why we think these startups have both the hearts, and the smarts to make a difference and do good business, when moderator Sophie Rochester leads a discussion with the founders of PubSlush, And Other Stories, and
If you want to go, you can register and enter TOCPartner20TSpeaker to get your 20% discount. And then I have a day of getting lost at the book fair. So if you're the type who goes to Frankfurt and wants to meet, let's do it! Oh and invite me to the parties which are nothing like they used to be.

When I get back, I have a leisurely week back home. And will relaunch then! Yay! Oh, and I hold down the fort for the week while my wife does her actuality thing (we both work at home and meet in airports occasionally).

Then, it's back on the plane to London for a little meeting on Open Access monographs, and a sure-to-be-a-highlight visit to Cambridge and Open Book Publishers, who helped bring you the fabulous first unglued book.

I'll have a whole half day to sleep (in my own bed!) and then I'll be on a panel at In Re Books, a conference organized by Prof. James Grimmelmann at the NYU Law School. the panel topic is "In re Rightsholders" in which we'll discuss book rights messes, and I'll argue that if it was just a mess, then it would be possible to clean up, and it isn't. As I've said before, the ebook transition is not a little storm you clean up after, it's climate change that washes whole countries away.

This post goes on for quite a bit longer, I hope I do the same.

On  November 1, I'm a speaker at Open UBC, a two day event at University of British Columbia celebrating and exploring various aspects of Open Access.
Open UBC is held in conjunction with the International Open Access Week, which encourages the academic community to come together to share and learn about open scholarship initiatives locally and worldwide. Open UBC showcases two days of diverse events highlighting areas of open scholarship that UBC’s researchers, faculty, students and staff participate in as well as guests from the global community. These events include discussion forums, lectures, seminars, workshops, and symposia on topical and timely issues from every discipline. All of these events are FREE and open to the public, students, faculty, staff and schools.
I'll reprise the good parts of my LITA presentation, if there turn out to be any.

A week later, I'll be at the Charleston Conference in South Carolina.  The topic is "Curating a New World of Publishing"
The drastic increase in publishing output has created an abundance that can be overwhelming, but this windfall of content ultimately presents an opportunity for libraries to develop deep and unique collections while preserving the intellectual works of our time. What is the role of the library as curator within this world of independently published content? Do libraries still have bibliographers with the skill sets necessary to identify high‐quality content without the aid of a well‐known imprint on the book spine? What technological approaches might be employed to make the process of identifying important or just plain interesting content scalable?
I hate the word "curation". Makes me want to make crude puns with it.

Charleston is always a fun conference, but not this time! It's off to Saratoga Springs, New York with me, for the New York Library Association Meeting. It's me and Jordan Vincent (formerly a whiz at Douglas County Libraries, now at Bibliotheca, a library vendor new to the ebook business) talking about "What's Next eBooks Chapter and Verse". By then I'm guessing I'll be all fire and brimstone, but you never know.

And that's it. If you see me someplace, say hello. This code: irleality will get you an official sticker.

And the Phillies are guaranteed not to lose a single playoff game the whole time.

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