Friday, September 17, 2010

Fascination eBook

Experiences of a small publishing company in Germany and in Second Life(Script by Asmita Duranjaya written for an interview at Splica - an Italian based eBook-festival in Second Life/On the left you can listen to an interview with the Australian artist Juanita Deharo speaking about art eBooks s.a. =>
Our ulme-mini-verlag is a tiny publishing company closed to Frankfurt Germany and publishes since 2003 not only books, but also CD-ROMs and Audio-CDs as well as download-packages on the web, which can be paid by the telephone bill or by giropay. The founder of the company Dr. Martina Claus-Bachmann is a lecturer and author for the field of Cultural Studies and focused in the beginning on publishing her academic research results. Since she had collected in her field research in mainly Asian cultures plenty of multimedia recordings and material, she tried to find media combinations to enhance the written word with examples for all senses.Her experience as lecturer at the university, in the further education for teachers and for migrant groups showed, that the most effective experiences result from offering combined media. That means, the book as an ancient and valuable source of storing the cultural memory of groups is not replaced by new media, but enhanced and extended by all, what digital publishing can offer. So every new digital possibility, that was developed in the last decade can be checked for its usability concerning the effective and attractive distribution of research results.Research results for the academic community are one thing – the next step would be to popularize them for a general public and for common education. Through her experience in the work with migrant groups Dr. Martina Claus-Bachmann noticed a lack of bilingual books or texts in general on the German book market. The company took the first steps into this direction and published in 2008 the first bilingual children book on a Buddhist Jataka story in German and Sinhala, the main language of Sri Lanka. It followed a Christmas story around a cute polar bear in English and German, both enhanced by a CD-ROM with multimedia content, games, puzzles, additional informations, sound- and video-examples. For both books the digital world of Second Life played an important role. 2007 ulme-mini-verlag joined the virtual world in order to advertise its book program. The first shop on Book Island was set up. Giridevi and Asmita Duranjaya acted as sisters with different interests, while Giridevi cared for the book enterprise, Asmita created the illustrations, using sceneries inworld and producing elaborate collages in several graphic software programs. In collaboration with inworld artists all over the world, like Juanita Deharo and Jon Haskell from Australia or Scottius Polke from USA the layouts for the books were created and since that time mostly two editions were produced, one in Real Life and one in Second Life. In Second Life the book production systems THINC and IntelliBooks were used. In Real Life the book layout was produced in a software, stored as pdf-file and sent online to a digital printing company, who produced the edition in around 10 days. The additional CD-ROM is made by ulme-mini-verlag in homework. The whole RL-production is a production on demand, that means, we start with a very small first edition, e.g. 50 or 100 exemplaries and order more according to the demand of the public. The books have all their ISBN and can be ordered in every bookshop or by internet order and in Amazon. Since 2007 the publishing company has a representation in Second Life and the different conditions inworld have motivated to develop new ideas in eBook-publishing. Let us show in tangible examples what eBook possibilities the publishing company has produced in the last years in connection with the virtual world of Second Life and where the development tends to.
1. The 1st

example of a book exclusively published in Second Life, mainly also to learn the technique of eBook-publishing inworld, was a introduction on how to build a drum in a virtual world. It is a step-by-step-guide consisting of inworld-snaps and was produced with the THINC-system. The layout was created according to RL-book-layouts and it would be possible to produce a Real Life-version immediately. So Second Life book-production can be used to get a preview on how a book would look like in Real Life.
2. The 2nd

example shows the children book “The Polar Bear and the Christmas Star”. It is a co-production of Asmita Duranjaya, Juanita Deharo and Jon Haskell in 2008. Juanita had built a snow world in Second Life and had enhanced it with the sculpt animals of Jon Haskell. Asmita went with her inworld camera through this installation, creating a story and taking snaps according to the chapters of her story. The result was after a processing the pictures in a graphic software and creating collages a publication in Real Life, first as a German version then as a bi-lingual version German/English. The booklet was enhanced with a CD-ROM containing games, puzzles etc. A new format was founded with this combination, which the company called pocket book because of the size of 14x14 cm. After producing the book there was also a Real Life exchange between Germany and Australia and Juanita Deharo, who is mainly an art-book artist got a nomination with this book in an art contest in Australia. The same book was produced in Second Life with the Intelli-Book-system. It has the same features like the RL-book and the multimedia-content of the CD-ROM can be found on a webpage. The Intelli-Book-system provides a button to open a webpage; the url is added as a notecard.
3. The 3rd example shows a pocket book production, which has been up to now the most successful on the German book market. It is also a bilingual book with the poems of the Indonesian female author Dorothea Rosa Herliany, illustrated with paintings of her husband, the visual artist Damtoz Andreas. It is up to now only available in Real Life, but it would be easy to bring it to Second Life as well. The CD-ROM in this case has an important function, giving further informations on the life and work of the poet and of the background of her poems and showing a reading session with the author on a video. The production is not only an interesting medium, it is also a bridge for cultural exchange and intercultural understanding. The author and her husband participated in a scholarship program of the German Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, which invites artists from different cultures for a stay of 6 months to develop their work and get the attention of the German public.
4. According to the requirements of an art-book-contest the 4th example shows a completely different way of eBook-publishing in Second Life. The contest was running parallely to the UWA Imagine contest in the months November to March. Asmita Duranjaya developed a book format using the options of rez-scripts. In combination with a so called “die”-script it is a resource saving possibility to show different pages of a book and to use all the multimedia possibilities that Second Life offers. This version offers much more creative potential for the book creator in layout and script usage than the prefabricated systems of THINC and Intelli-Book, which are also more expensive. The only difference to these book systems is, that the pages cannot be turned by clicking on them, but with a button on a book display. Clicking on a page would leave the page and hinder other interactive actions to be performed. So this book production showed an ancient Chinese story with the philosophical question of identity and reality in a vivid way.

All senses were included and the reader could see, hear and experience the story of “The Butterfly”. This book production won an award in the UWA book-contest and is dedicated to Second Life only because it would be very difficult to reproduce it in Real Life.
The ulme-mini-verlag will produce all the 4 possibilities shown here in the future. The main concept for RL is not to give upthe publication of printed books because of the historically deeprooted value of this culture technique in Europe. But the printed book has to be enhanced by eBook-facilities and media for all senses. The future in Second Life will bring more book productions in the sense of the 4th example. There will be efforts to incldue also immersive factors in the books, so that the experience for the user is increased and he can become an active part of the story.
Giridevi and Asmita Duranjaya, Sedona Island, Second Life,