Presentation on theme: "Digital Media Print. Hypertext was originally envisioned as a way to enliven “printed” text. idea of a hyperlink is to dynamically link a reference to."— Presentation transcript:
Digital Media Print
Hypertext was originally envisioned as a way to enliven “printed” text. idea of a hyperlink is to dynamically link a reference to its source.
If an author mentions a name in a book or article, the casual reader can digress from the main text and follow the link to learn a little more about that person’s life and contextual significance. In the same manner, a historical event or cultural reference can be linked, such that the original text flows as intended and any digression is done at the whim or need of the reader.
The newspaper format is arguably one of the greatest beneficiaries of a digital presence in print media. The advantages are numerous, but amongst the most significant are the following.
Articles can be posted at any time …the on- line version of a newspaper can avoid the usual news cycle deadlines required for a print version, and can therefore get the story up faster than before, and do so “for the record” – deeper and more comprehensive than television coverage.
Corrections or updates can also be posted as they are noted or reported, thus minimizing potential damage if caught early, and correcting the record either directly or with a link after the fact.
The prior editions of the on-line paper are available, and are readily indexed for rapid search and retrieval of key information. An interested reader can, on a good site, follow a series of articles over time to see how the issue progressed.
It is necessary in most articles to provide some context and explanatory text for readers unfamiliar with the topic; often this text can take up much of the space for the article, as the writer cannot assume that the reader has seen the preceding, topically related articles.
The on-line version of a newspaper can provide links to the preceding articles, which may, over time, enable a certain encapsulation of the antecedent information and possibly change the style of writing.
On-line articles can provide richer content as the textual references to people, places, and events are hyperlinked.
The presentation of a story on tornados can include background links to articles on how tornados are formed, stories of other tornados, and their seasonal propensity to strike narrow regions of the country.
Stories on foreign leaders or cultural events can benefit in the same manner from the inclusion of more substantial background references. And this work can complement the work of other sources, rather than duplicating the effort, pointing readers towards particularly relevant material.
Then there are routine but useful features such as the capacity to search various sections, such as the personal ads, the want ads, and the classified ads, for particular products or features.
An on-line newspaper does contain advertisements, and, even better, the paper can report how many people see the ads and how many “click through” to follow up on the ad, so these numbers are more reliable than the traditional print ad.
And there are advantages to the on-line process. Printing and distributing newspapers is quite expensive: the paper itself, the newsprint, the printing press, the packaging and delivery of papers, the recovery of extra papers—every step costs time, money, and labor. NOT printing papers can actually save money.
There is also the observation that with a printed paper the company never really knows how many people are reading the different sections, or following specific story lines or topic areas.
The on-line version can compute exactly how many, or what percentage, of its clients are reading any given part of the paper. This information can, for better or worse, influence coverage and content of the paper.
The application of usage-data mining techniques will provide tremendous insight into how people are reading the paper, or, more precisely, how they are reading the on-line paper. This kind of information has never before been available, and it remains to be seen just how it will be used.
Ideally, there will still be room for coverage of topics other than celebrities and scandals.
The data could be used to mount a degree of personalization for individual readers, such that the weather forecast is localized, and the sports coverage lists local teams first, etc. In this way, the paper begins to cater to the natural interests of the reader.
. But there is a danger in this trend, in that if the paper changes many times a day, and it changes depending on who is reading it, then can it really stand as a “paper of record”? There are benefits to having some “universal” reference points, and excessive personalization can remove that communal experience.
All periodicals share to a greater or lesser extent the potential and problems associated with digital publication of newspapers.
One key difference is the length of the publishing cycle. Where a newspaper has a daily cycle for the main sections, and a weekly cycle for its features, magazines publish on a weekly or monthly basis.
The longer cycle influences the type of coverage that can be offered, though an important distinction should be made here between pop culture and celebrity-oriented magazines, and those that have a more thematic focus.
The former category tends to have short pieces that are more oriented to opinion or impression, while the latter tends towards more serious and longer pieces, with an emphasis on research and assimilation of a wider range of sources than is typical or possible for a daily publication.
the magazine market is one of the most “segmented” markets that exists, with thousands of entries, many targeted to an extremely narrow demographic profile: outdoors males between 18 and 25; female runners between 18 and 30, middle-aged retired male golfers and, in a slightly mocking reference from a comic strip, young chewing gum enthusiasts.  A recurring plot theme from the “Calvin & Hobbes” strip, by Bill Watterson
The market segmentation of magazines would then seem quite suitable to the web, as the web caters to this sort of specialization. Yet, in an observation not lost on many pundits, the most popular magazine about the emerging digital culture, Wired magazine, is primarily known for its print version.
And one of the more popular on-line magazines, Salon.com, doesn’t have a traditional print presence. So the uneasy cohabitation that exists in the context of newspapers hasn’t emerged to the same extent with magazines
One of the objectives of good web design is that the site retain key branding elements and consistent navigational tools, but that the content change on a regular basis—daily is good, multiple times a day even better in the view of some sites.
The human eye is trained to detect motion, and change—we pay more attention to a changed environment than one with which we are already familiar. Thus, if there is nothing new on a web site, the user gets bored, and moves on.
A simple port of the print version of the magazine to the web won’t draw as many visitors as a version whose contents change more often. Thus, if fresh material is necessary to attract and retain web visitors, then an on-line magazine requires a change in its production process.
For example, the following changes might be considered: Make the “cover” page ”dynamic”. There should be elements that change routine … a featured graphic should change with each fresh load, such that each page is slightly different on each viewing.
The featured articles might rotate in their relative priority or prominence on the page, with the “freshest” material getting the highest ranking.
Similarly, based upon usage-data mining results, the “hottest” topics for that particular issue would rise in their prominence on the front page.
Readers might receive the magazine, or at least see selected articles and sections, for free, but in return should register so as to provide feedback on who is visiting the site and what they are reading.
The usage-data mining results that help determine user interest in articles and features could also be used to provide customized links to related topics in the current or prior issues, and to promote upcoming features so as to encourage a return visit.
More controversially, the data mining can be used to selectively promote the products of sponsors or advertisers—a reader who seems to respond to ads for children’s products will see more children’s ads, while a reader clicking on arthritis ads might be targeted for something on vitamin supplements.
Introduce “rolling” publication dates, such that rather than having the entire magazine come out all on the same day, features emerge at scheduled intervals, so that each week there is substantial new content available. Certain features, such as letters to the editor or special reports and updates, could be posted more frequently.
The “down” side of using rolling feature publication dates is that there might not be a definitive “September” issue, or perhaps for only a short time would the on-line version more or less match the print version.
Serialization of books or special reports that span several issues can be readily linked, such that new readers can easily catch up with the earlier material.
There are a variety of web-friendly features becoming more common, such as puzzles and games, and regular reader polls as to their opinions on the latest hot topic, but these should be used with some discretion!
There are larger issues pertaining to the economic model of the magazine: how much is given away, and how much is sold? The paid subscription model has not worked so well on-line, as users are accustomed to getting content for free, and in the haste to build on-line readership most sites have quietly shelved the idea of collecting money directly from the readers.
One common model is for a magazine’s current issue to be free, but access to archived material comes at a price. Or, a two-tier model is established, where parts of the publication are free to anyone who cares to visit, but extra features (special reports, detailed studies, etc.) and value-added services (such as the archive search) only come with a subscription.
Books have been “written off” every few years as relics and certain casualties of the information revolution. Who would buy a dusty old heavy book when a digital version could be available, fully hyperlinked, without the fuss and bother of printing and storing books?
Each time the prediction has been made, dating from Vannevar Bush’s Memex to the much-touted digital release of a Stephen King novel, the digital version has somehow not fully materialized, and books have persevered.
Perhaps the most appealing vision of the digital book of the future was designed by Alan Kay in 1968 and later promoted by Apple Computer in the 1980’s, in a concept packaged as the “DynaBook” (presumably standing for Dynamic Book).
The DynaBook wasn’t really a product, it was more of a vision, a vision which today seems quite realizable. The Dynabook was originally conceived as sort of a calculator with a keyboard.
. It later morphed into a sleeker device that replaced the keyboard interface with a stylus and support for handwriting recognition. The newer version was illustrated as a device similar to a small leather-bound folding notebook, lightweight and durable, easy to carry, even to slip into a jacket pocket.
The device presumably carried enough local memory to hold the digital contents of at least one and perhaps many books, with an easy means to transfer old books out and new material in.
The unit was portable, thus enabling the DynaBook to be used easily in cozy settings such as the park, the library, or a coffee shop, and served as well as a calendar and organizer.
It seems like an appealing idea, so why didn’t it get anywhere? In large part, because the DynaBook did not exist. Many of the individual technologies required to create a DynaScript device were not far enough along to make and market functional models.
The concept has persevered, though, and will likely take form in various manifestations amongst the new generations of personal digital assistants and tablet computers.
The reality of purely digital books still seems just as much “around the corner” today as it did decades ago. The bigger hurdle today does not appear to be the physical device, which is now getting very close to reality, but the problems associated with protecting the work from widespread digital reproduction.
… on demand printing … Rather than print thousands of copies of books that people may or may not buy, and that could sit on shelves and in warehouses for years, wouldn’t it be nice if books could be printed as needed, perhaps in small batches, such that all the problems associated with printing and managing large quantities of books were avoided entirely?
This is the premise behind “on-demand printing”. If a customer places an order today, the book can be printed tonight and delivered tomorrow. In this model, every participant is happy, and the inventory problems avoided.
An additional advantage of this approach is that it would make small batch production more economically viable, reducing the quantity required for a publisher to break even on the print and production costs. Thus, books that were probably never going to make it onto a best-seller list could still be printed and made available for their select audience.
One problem is that most of the books produced this way look more or less the same, not far removed from a job at the university copy center, and it leaves book lovers unhappy with the on-demand version.
It is likely that the uniformity problem can be improved, such that the coming generations of equipment can produce a product closer, perhaps identical, to the original product from the publisher, but for the moment “on- demand” printing remains something of a specialty itself, consigned primarily to corporate and university print shops.