The Unbound Book

Reading and publishing in the digital age

19 May 2011
21 May 2011

The conventional notion of the book, based on centuries of print, is rapidly growing outdated. The book is coming unbound in a double sense: both freed from the bindings of the printed volume and from the limitations of conventional text. Yet while today's multimedia content and online modes of authorship offer new vistas book-like functions and forms, we should also explore how to preserve vital features of conventional print.


Flyer - Elias van Hees

The questions the conferences raises falls under our six session themes:

What is a Book?
Is a book the material container for reading, a printed page or an e-reader, or is it content, an entity of externalized memory, a metaphor for knowledge? What transmutations of the book have succeeded and what have failed to take hold…and why?

The Unbound Book
If connected to other information, is the book still a book? Do we herald the death of the individual author with the rise of collaborative writing? What role will editorial and technical standards play? While the printed book seems finite, is there room for works that never achieve closure, that remain in an unfolding state?

Ascent of E-readers
What will happen to sustained reading and argumentation in an environment amenable to browsing and instant gratification? When can short-formats – blogs, wikis, listserves, cell phone novels – promote radical opportunities for lively discussion and self-expression without reducing our capacity for critical thinking?

Future Publishing Industries
If the book has no paper-based bindings, how will publishers package and monetize content? How will libraries organize and distribute information?

Books by Design
How does text interact with the aesthetics of code and with dynamic, process-oriented information? Can we promote open-source design practices and new grammars of typography?

The Unbound Book II: Horizons of Education and Authoring
What new computational possibilities does the digital book lends to scholarly research? How do digital books’ algorithmically driven semantics give us new ways to facilitate scholarly practices and collaborations?

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