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May 19, 2003

Purdue team attempts to write, publish e-book in three hours

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A team of scholars, students and publishers will work to write, assemble and publish an e-book in three hours at Purdue University in an attempt to beat the record set earlier this year by a team from Germany.

The production of this multimedia e-book is a warm-up activity for the 19th Computers and Writing 2003: Discovering Digital Dimensions Conference, which will be Thursday through Sunday (5/22-25) at Purdue. The conference, which is held at a different site every year for its 500 attendees, features topics such as reading and writing in the digital era, digital publishing and using computers in the classroom.

"This year's conference theme highlights new possibilities for transforming teaching and scholarship," said David Blakesley, program chair and workshop coordinator in the Department of English. "We intend to demonstrate these possibilities in dramatic fashion. We are eager to beat the record of 12 hours that was accomplished earlier this year."

From 1-4 p.m. on Thursday, graduate students from a Purdue digital publishing course, conference participants and two publishers will edit and write some of the book's content, as well as explain e-book design and production, distribution and copyright law. The demonstration will take place at the Digital Learning Collaboratory in the John W. Hicks Undergraduate Library.

The e-book on digital publishing will be available on the Internet at no cost. The finished book will be published Thursday at http://www.parlorpress.com and then about week after that at Night Kitchen.

Digital publishing is a growing alternative for authors looking for a faster way to publish their works, Blakesley said. E-books, also known as digital books, are low-cost, convenient and instantly available to download.

Blakesley said the team plans to produce a 400-page e-book, which would translate into a 275-page print book. Pages are comparable to content on a screen. The e-book also will include video and audio components.

"We will publish a high-quality e-book about digital publishing that will be a useful resource for scholars, students and publishers," said Blakesley, director of Purdue's professional writing program. "This product will show that scholars and researchers from any field can be involved directly with publishing their work."

Blakesley, who founded an independent scholarly publishing company, Parlor Press, will be joined in the demonstration by Bob Stein, the owner and founder of Night Kitchen, which is the publisher of multimedia authoring and reading software.

A complete list of speakers at the Computers and Writing 2003 conference is online.

Writer: Amy Patterson-Neubert, (765) 494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Source: David Blakesley, (765) 746-0175 or (765) 494.3772, blakesle@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: The e-book demonstration will take place from 1-4 p.m. on Thursday (5/22) at the Digital Learning Collaboratory in the John W. Hicks Undergraduate Library.


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