Hugh McGuire, in Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, posits that the book and the internet will merge. Ebooks are just one step away from being web pages. Eventually they will be web pages. And publishers will need to treat them as web pages.
When books are open, accessible, interoperable – when they can talk with one another in the same fashion web pages can talk to one another – how do publishers publish? How do readers find?
In this keynote, I would like to introduce concepts of the semantic web to the larger book industry. Resource Description Framework (or microdata, or microformat) ontologies can be helpful in creating schemas for search engines that will enable readers to find not only the book they are looking for, but the most appropriate passages within that book. Linking to passages within other books is also, of course, an eventuality (just as websites link to web pages on other websites). In such an environment, one book opens the door to many other books. In this way, a single book can actually contain multitudes of other books.
This will be a very high-level presentation – my goal is to get the book industry thinking about the direction publishing is headed in, and show some of the exciting possibilities that lie ahead when books can actually communicate with one another.
Laura Dawson is Product Manager for Identifiers at Bowker. She never shuts up about identifiers, metadata, and book discovery.
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