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Processed Book Project

If I may impose upon the members of this list, I would like to call their
attention to a project I have been working on with my fellow
investigators, Lynn Brock and Wayne Davison. The project is called The
Processed Book Project and can be found at http://prosaix.com/pbos. It
derives from an essay I wrote a couple years ago, which was published by
Ed Valauskas in FirstMonday
(http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_3/esposito/index.html). The
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, in the persons of Marshall Smith and
Cathy Casserly, funded the project. All the content in the project is
Open Access, all the code is Open Source (of course).

The aim of the project was to create a demonstration of an experimental
kind of electronic book, for which we built the Processed Book Operating
System (PBOS). PBOS enables extensive annotation of selected texts (you
can upload any text you control the rights to into the project library),
annotations that go beyond verbal comments and include computer processes. A key aspect of PBOS is that it permits other forms of annotations,
including other applications and computer processes, to be added to the
software. PBOS, that is, truly is a platform, which is intended to evolve
with the community's support and interest.

We would very much appreciate your feedback on this project, whether good,
bad, or ugly. Please write to me directly, if you wish
(espositoj@gmail.com), or make your comments within the project itself. The best way to do that is to add annotations to the essay included in the
project, named, coincidentally, "The Processed Book Project," which can be
found by clicking on the project's "library" button. We would
particularly be pleased if you were to add a book to be "processed" to the
library or went to the trouble to download the open source software and
started your own PB site. (The code is available from SourceForge. All
the links can be found at the PB site.)

As I have expressed skepticism about certain aspects of Open Access
ideology in the past, some may wonder why I am now perpetrating an OA
project. As I have asserted all along, I am very much an OA advocate, but
I have insisted on certain parameters.
First, OA projects should take property from no one and should indeed
adopt a highly conservative view of copyright law (the higher you set the
bar, the greater the leap);

Second, OA projects should not attempt to copy or compete with proprietary
projects (the last thing the world needs is another Cell or Nature);

Finally, OA projects should probe the inherent qualities of the medium of
the Internet and not simply be a warmed-over version of hardcopy
publishing (the McLuhan factor, aka "death to PDF"). If we have failed
miserably in realizing our ambitions, we have nonetheless provided a tool
set with which you can gleefully grind us beneath your heels.

Joe Esposito