Allowing publishers to ‘webbify’ the book
At Books in Browsers, the annual conference produced by Peter Brantley, you hear the phrase “networked book” quite a bit. In its most reachy potential, the “networked book” is an exhilarating concept of information existing in its most connected state — whatever that state might be. No longer a thing but an experience. No longer a page-turner but a data driver.
Joe Wikert, formerly with O’Reilly Media, Wiley, and Macmillan, is watching his second anniversary arrive as director of strategy and business development with Olive Software. Founded 15 years ago, the Denver-based Olive is known best for its online evocations of newspapers. Media corporations in 19 countries, from the Miami Herald Tribune and USA Today to The Financial Times (Global) and Le Temps, use its technology to create their Internet editions. If you have a minute, Olive’s Time Traveler feature will show you a 50-years-ago-today look at the Lake Charles American Press which, on its editorial page, has its own 50-year look-back. (“Mrs. Charles Hall has issued invitations to a sewing party Saturday afternoon for Mrs. O.C. Hall of Delevan, Illinois.”)
A half-century whiplash later, Wikert and his associates at Olive have gone beyond newspapers with their “SmartLayers” technology to generate a form of “enriched” evocation of books in the online space.
“Publishers want to preserve the work and investment they’ve made from the print-book point-of-view as well as the ebook point-of-view,” Wikert says. And the Olive team started with that firmly in mind, he says, when they explored how their Net-borne iteration of a book might function.
When you look at a book enriched with the Olive Dynamic Book SmartLayers process, you can view it on a screen strictly in its print-quality standard and all usual nuances are in place. But using a toggle switch causes the book to “come alive,” as Wikert puts it, with offerings that can include pop-up information, videos, images, interactive maps, even whole online reference pages — a Wikipedia page, for example — that not only open right in your reading field but also retreat easily, returning you to the book’s text.
The explanatory video below is aimed at buyers of Richard J. Sommers’ Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg (Savas Beatie, 2014), and provides an interesting look at details of the Olive Dynamic functionality.
By Porter Anderson
The FutureBook: ‘Smart Layers’ and resistance: Joe Wikert on the ‘Dynamic Book’
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