New Media

one mil investment for advice


From BBC News – Tories ‘would pay £1m for public policy making website’]

Seems the Tories have discovered crowdsourcing – a little late.  Shadow culture minister Hunt says,

“It is crazy that [policies] have gone wrong when you’ve got lots and lots of, for example, retired health professionals, retired policemen, people in the teaching profession, who have huge knowledge and expertise…

“Is there a way that we can use the internet … to try and avoid some of these howlers so a future Conservative government can not just have good policy ideas but execute policy in a much more considered and thought-through way?”

Of course there’s a way of bringing people into the conversation, Mr Hill, and Lib Dem Jenny Willot (bless) is willing to give the Tories advice for free.  Well, almost free. She gets an obligatory snipe in at the end.

For the Liberal Democrats, Work and Pensions spokesperson Jenny Willott MP said: “This prize is clearly a publicity stunt and a total waste of taxpayers’ money.

“There are already a multitude of ways to communicate with large numbers of people online, from Facebook to discussion groups.

“Maybe the Tories are so out of touch they don’t know what’s out there, but they shouldn’t waste £1m of public money reinventing the wheel.”

Of course, crowdsourcing won’t solve the problem of Getting It Right unless you listen to the sources.  So here’s hoping that a £1m investment means the Tories would value what their sources tell them.

New Media

yay print

From Wired Campus: New Report Says Digital Textbooks Are off Track –

New Report Says Digital Textbooks Are off Track

A growing number of textbook publishers are offering digital editions these days, but a new study by a student group argues that many of those digital editions do not have the features that students want.

The group, the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a collection of independent statewide organizations representing college students, surveyed 500 students from several campuses for the study. They found that students wanted digital textbooks to be more affordable than print versions, to be printable, and to be free from restrictions on how long they can be viewed. But the report said that the electronic textbooks offered by major publishers through CourseSmart, generally cost about the same as printed versions, limited printing to 10 pages per session, and expire after about 180 days. Publishers put such restrictions in place to try to prevent students from giving copies to their friends for free or trading them on pirate Web sites.

The survey showed that students feel strongly about the printed word. About 75 percent of those surveyed said they prefer a printed textbook over an electronic one. And 60 percent said that even if a free digital copy were available, they would still pay for a low-cost print version.

The report calls on professors and colleges to support more “open textbooks” that are offered free online.

Aw, bless.

Print Culture

reference to not reverence for The Literary

One of those read-it-fast-and-set-it-aside-for-later pieces. Sebastian Mary at if:book gives a useful OV of the present state of the Web in literary (and Literary) publishing: friday musings on the literary. The Web is a cultural space where the high and low, working out their relative positions, bring the ideology of The Literary to the fore.

Mary traces a complex discussion, starting with Stephan Page at the Guardian on the ebook (“serious literature can still thrive thanks to the internet” – and can you get more patronizing?), through the literary ideology – “inseparable from print” –

People use the Web to share work, peer-review their writing, promote activities, sell books and find others with the same interests. But this activity happens almost always with reference to the ideology of the literary – in particular, to the aspirational associations of broadcast-only, hard-copy-printed, selected-and-paid-for-and-edited-by-someone-else-and-hopefully-bought-and-read-by-the-public publication. For those submitting to such magazines, the hope is that they will move up the literary food chain, get published in better known journals, and perhaps – the holy grail – finally after decades of grim and impecunious slogging, be anthologized by Faber.

to promotion of the literary (possibly a lost cause), to authors seeking feedback and validation, and publishers trying to Build Community, culminating in an all or nothing a careful dance:

Finding new writers; building a community to peer-review drafts; promoting work; pushing out content to draw people back to a publisher’s site to buy books. All these make sense, and present huge opportunities for savvy players. But […] to attempt to transplant the ideology of the literary onto the Web will fail unless it is done with reference to the print culture that produced it. Otherwise the work will, by literary standards, be judged second-rate, while by geek standards it’ll seem top-down, limited and static. Or just boring.

Read that closely: reference to print culture not reverence for.