A good format for recycling older texts and illustrated studies seems to be there almost. After the PDF format navigation and presentation enhancements, there are now on-line readers which offer the same and more functionality. A disadvantage of the PDF format is that when it is not just a few pages, but many, or even hundreds or a thousand pages or more, one has to wait till the downloading of the remotely stored PDF file has finished before reading is possible. One is often not sure if a chosen PDF file is really interesting enough and the browsability of web pages, the option to quickly scan an information object for it;s possible interest, is not there. I have tested now two systems that offer free posting of documents scribd.org and issuu.com and though the interface of issuu.com is more elegant, its lack of being able to add metadata (bibliographical information is the old term) to an ePublication (the term SCRIBD is using = iPaper) made me choose for scribd.org. The latest text I posted is a study from 2001 on literary psycho-geography of Edo/Tokyo…
I have implemented here a special embedded link to the software of my blog (WordPress) that ‘streams’ the rendered (scaled) pages directly into a WordPress blog. To see the full functionality it is better and click the link button to the SCRIBD site itself.
To my great surprise I discovered on scribd.org one of my favorite books on the enlightenment by Jonathan Israel “Enlightenment Contested- Philosophy, Modernity and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752”, a full thousand or so pages… which may be on the limits of what this ePublication service is intended for. Nevertheless the uploader states his postings of books “are intended for educational and familiarization purposes only” and calls people to buy the book when they really intend to use it (the selling price is between 55 and 70 dollars at the moment) and what we have here is a fully searchable version of the book; just try out the right hand corner search box of the neat and very fast scribd.org web interface and you can hop through the thousand pages guided by a simple search term; like I did with the name “van den enden” (Franciscus van den Enden 1602-1674, one of the inspirational masters for Spinoza who started his liofe in Antwerp and was hung for conspiracy against the French state in 1672 in Paris a very much undervalued radical thinker with his free comonwealth as described in “Vrye Politieke Stellingen” 1665 and similar proposals to establish a free community in what was than called “Nieuw Nederlants” in 1665).
Have a try on it as long as this fabulous historical text can be searched at will and with such neatly contextual display of search results, something far beyond the old book and its paper index is on show. It is an interesting question whether authorship rights and copyright property of a publisher may be called in question by such free internet availability. In this case the content of the book frequently speaks about ways of common property, natural rights and equalitarian practices. Our new technologies of reproduction and distribution – as is shown concretely with the link below – do make it possible to freely share that what has only to be produced once (scientific and technological knowledge); it breaks down the barriers between a privileged academic class with its members only access to information and ‘free learners’ – like myself – that claim equal chances of being informed. For as long as it lasts, enjoy the book-link below here… and also you can even in this small format nicely do a search, that options is somewhat hidden so I add here a screendump with an explanation how to do all that..
Now see how neat such a search (even in a small window) can be accessed. The full screen version will show you the contextual search terms in a right hand column, as I have described in the text above.
A staff member of the firm edocr.com pointed me to their service for ePublication, so I registered and tested the same simple PDF of my psycho-geography research of 2001. They use FlashPaper a Macromedia software for conversion and display… I have embedded here the result (inserting the edocr embedding code in HTML editing mode of WordPress) and let me see how it looks & works… Oops WordPress blogger software in use here does not like this embedding code, which does not surprise me, though the edocr.com management page happily shows this:
So they may need to write a more specific embedding piece of code than the one below?
<object type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” data=”http://www.edocr.com/embed/79008bd66103083e99d51b2df33fdaef19b79454″ width=”425″ height=”348″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.edocr.com/embed/79008bd66103083e99d51b2df33fdaef19b79454″ /></object>
I also send my bitter sweet comments after uploading my first test file, the remarks can be found in the comments below this posting.
You may like to read also my other post related to this subject on the “access privilege of the academic class” and the back door option of a USB stick at some university computers… This post has been noted also by a blog specialized in this subject: Free Our Books, which is highly recommended.