Geert Lovink, founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures, is a Dutch-Australian media theorist and net critic. He holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and in 2003 was at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland. In 2004 Lovink was appointed as Research Professor at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam and Associate Professor at University of Amsterdam. He is the founder of Internet projects such as nettime and fibreculture and recently organized research networks, conferences and publications on the culture of search, online video, urban screens, critique of creative industries, digital publishing and global Wikipedia research. His recent book titles are Dark Fiber (2002), Uncanny Networks (2002), My First Recession (2003), Zero Comments (2007) and Networks without a Cause (2011).
Email: geert [at] xs4all.nl.
Do-It-Together: Digital Publishing Experiments at the Institute of
By Geert Lovink
Just as its enthusiasts say, the digital revolution has empowered individuals to create and publish their own content through cheap, easy-to-use tools and platforms. But there are a few complications. For one, do-it-yourself quite often results in less than average outcomes - we aren't all born as multi-talented graphic designers, qualified copy-editors and instant marketeers. So while the division of labour in the context of free cooperation and accessible tools is certainly no shame, neither are the professional standards that we should expect to come with it. On top of this, the proliferation of new delivery platforms and authoring tools in a rapidly changing publishing environment makes it hard for individual authors and researchers to keep up. Finally, with the publishing industry going through its Napster phase (think AAAARG), collaborative publishing and book sprints (see FLOSS Manuals) will soon
shift the industry's focus from copyright and licensing to crowd funding and searchability.
To explore this perplexing landscape - and reacting to the often slow and conservative arena of academic publishing - the Amsterdam-based Institute of Network Cultures (INC) has developed a number of publishing series of its own. This lecture gives an overview of INC's practice-based research
into different publishing strategies: free newspapers, open access journal software, a book series in collaboration with a traditional publisher (NAi), digital typography experiments, print-on-demand offerings through Lulu and the Expresso Book Machine and various reading platforms from pdf and HTML 5 to e-pub and Scribd. We see this initiative ultimately as a political project: perhaps to confound older systems that are starting to crumble anyway, while in the meantime building alternative, sustainable models for free cooperation and knowledge production.