Overall Theme 2006: SAVE, CHANGE or DISCARD — Tradition and Innovation in the World of Books

In the world of books – in both highly developed and in developing economies – we live in a world of change, even in a dizzying swirl of change. Because of the profound changes in the way books come to be, technology has even changed the way we think. The swirl of change touches every part of the book making and using process.

Technology changes the way we write, edit, design and manufacture books. Demographic changes force realignments of traditional structures for marketing and distribution of books. Giant corporations gobble up smaller publishers while new small publishers are born nonetheless, but under different economic and editorial circumstances. Small bookstores die off; giant superstores replace them, or consumers skip the bookstore altogether and shop on-line. Long established book reviewing journals lose their readerships, or traditionally respected book award committees are attacked as elitist while Internet-driven consumer rankings of favorite books take the place of expert opinions. What’s down used to be up, what’s out used to be in, what’s next nobody knows.

And yet, repeatedly, we discover irreplaceable value in the past. An indexer working with a pencil and paper, on index cards, outdoes a computer driven indexing program. No amount of on-line hype outperforms sales representatives who call on booksellers and sell to them, face to face. An editor nurtures an author through one, two, three books until finally one emerges to confirm the editor’s original instinct: There was genius here waiting for development. A designer uses the ancient principles of the golden mean and low technology tools (a ruler, compass and pencil), then wins an award for creativity. The list can be extended. Nothing entirely new is ever divorced completely from the past. As the Shakers put it, ‘history is to the community what memory is to the individual’.

The conference addresses, broadly, in the world of books: what modes of thinking and creativity and doing business should be saved from the past; what modes of thinking and creativity and doing business are changing, for better or worse, in the present; and modes of thinking and creativity and doing business from the past we could just as well do without.

Theme 1: Writers’ Ways with Words: Past, Present, Future
  • Narratives and their representation: past, present and future.
  • Academic publishing at the crossroads: journals, monographs and eprints.
  • Professional and technical writing: new media and new messages.
  • Creative writing: so what's creativity, and how is it taught?
  • Writing for children in an era of competing pleasures.
  • Language and cultural revival: new authors finding old voices.
  • Word processing, html and the digital tools of the contemporary author's trade.
Theme 2: Editors’, Designers’ and Typesetters’ Ways with Words and Images: Past, Present, Future
  • Perspectives on the history of book production, printing and typography.
  • Fonts and typography: the challenge of open source.
  • The changing role of the designer.
  • Unicode and typesetting in an era of multilingual internationalism.
  • Multilingual publishing processes, human translation and machine translation.
  • Printers adopt electronic standards: the Job Definition Format.
  • Print-on-demand and digital print: new ways of making the old product.
Theme 3: Publishers' Ways with Books: Past, Present, Future
  • The long and short of publishing: mass markets versus niche markets; long run versus short-run publishing.
  • The work of the editor: past traditions and new roles.
  • Marketing the book: meeting the consumer amidst an overload of retail commodities.
  • Publishing ebooks.
  • Small presses and specialist presses: prospects and opportunities.
  • Digital rights management: The electronic future of copyright.
  • Publishing as a tool of knowledge management.
  • Publishing as a means of capacity development.
  • Managing the content workflow: from desktop publishing to open standards.
  • The history and sociology of publishing.
Theme 4: Book Printing and Manufacturing: What’s New, What’s Next?
  • Changing technologies of book printing and binding.
  • Repurposing content and multipurpose publishing.
  • Digital supply chain management—the journey of the cultural content, from the creator to the consumer.
  • Electronic reading devices: what works and what doesn't.
  • Reading the phone: content delivery on 3G devices.
  • Standards for digital rights management.
  • Barriers and possibilities for disability access to electronic and other published material.
Theme 5: Librarians' and Archivists’ Ways with Words and Images: Past, Present, Future
  • Librarians' work today.
  • eBooks in libraries
  • MARC and MODS and METS—and other electronic cataloguing acronyms.
  • Metadata and resource discovery.
  • Indexing and cataloguing in the electronic age.
Theme 6: Booksellers' and Distributors’ Ways with Books
  • Retailing realities—the bookstore of the past meets the bookstore of the future.
  • Bookstores online: creating new local and global markets.
  • B-2-B ecommerce: the rise and rise of the ONIX standard.
  • Book data: expanding access.
Theme 7: Learners' Ways with Words and Images: Past, Present, Future
  • The textbook as a medium of instruction.
  • 'Learning objects' and elearning.
  • Print-on-demand in the new learning environment.
  • Distance learning: old challenges and new opportunities.
  • The place of text in a multimedia learning environment.
  • Educational electronic publishing standards: IMS, SCORM and others.
Theme 8: Readers', Viewers’ and Listeners’ Ways with Words and Images: Past, Present, Future
  • The past, present and future of reading.
  • Print literacy in an era of multimodal communications.
  • Readers' experiences of electronic reading devices.
  • From reader to user: how does the screen change the role of the reader?