I have to admit, when I was scanning through Boing Boing and saw "Six good technological ideas for improving publishing", that word "publishing" started me off with the tyranny of low expectations. However (and those of you who know me will know I don't go in for false praise) I was pleasantly surprised to encounter Michael Tamblyn's entertaining presentation which has six great ideas, some of which are relevant outside the specific world of book publishing.
(Sorry, initially published as a blocked link - have to unflashblock this content - hazard of browser-editor interaction.)
I have to admit, this is my first time hearing of (or at least my first time paying attention to hearing about) BookNet Canada and this particular event, BookNet Canada TechForum '09.
To be honest, I think it starts a bit slow - Michael Tamblyn starts off talking about the recession - I recommend you skip ahead to about the 3 minute mark where he gets into the meat of his talk.
He calls for a number of things, and I don't want to steal his thunder, but some highlights include:
* publishers getting smarter about how they share their data online - BookNet has an initiative called BiblioShare - "BiblioShare is a service that allows Publishers to store their most recent ONIX files at a central server that can then be picked up by any aggregator that needs them."
* publishers getting better at XML workflows - he indicates O'Reilly's Start with XML as one place to begin
* publishers opening their organisations up to innovation, and embracing ideas from creative technologists (I like this terminology of "creative technologist" a lot)
* publishers experimenting and connecting - BookNet is supporting an unconference called BookCampToronto on June 6, 2009
The one area of mobilizing data he didn't really talk about was connecting publishers to libraries (he focused on the connection to booksellers). I think there are lots of opportunties in the library space, particularly for sharing data.
I know we often give publishers a hard time for being resistant to innovation - this is a great example of an individual and an organisation that are leading with their ideas.
I have to say I found their site a bit confusing. There is a blog which doesn't seem to have an RSS feed. There is an RSS feed, but it appears to be for news items.
There are supposed to be slides at There are slides from the TechForum at but I could never get it to load. You can also see Michael Tamblyn's slides directly on SlideShare. There's also the blip.tv channel, which has a few other talks on it so far. The blog slice that is about the TechForum is also useful. The tag was bnc09 if you want to dig around further.