As part of my job, I speak to a lot of grad students about what tech projects they’d like to see happen. Increasingly, students are describing something like this: “I work with a text that I know better than anyone else. I’d like the ability to add video, text, and audio annotation to the text — like a multimedia annotated edition.”

The technology to make this happen does exist. A recent Chronicle article describes something similar, and this company is working on “books” that are perhaps even more advanced than my students are imagining.

The problem is, as far as I can tell, creating these multimedia ebooks requires comfort with XML. Much as I’d like for every grad student to possess this knowledge, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

So in this session, I’d love to hear ideas for ways to create multimedia ebooks that might be accessible to the tech-curious grad student who is nonetheless not prepared to invest the time in learning XML. Perhaps these techniques already exist, or perhaps we need to build them ourselves.

Some notes:

  • Adobe InDesign is (purportedly) one way to create multimedia epubs, but my experience with it suggests that learning to create epubs in InDesign is little easier than learning XML
  • The Anthologize plugin for WordPress seems to offer intriguing possibilities. WP is a CMS that many students are already comfortable using, and they’re comfortable embedding video in posts. Perhaps Anthologize could be extended to handle video and audio.
  • I asked a question on this topic over at DH Answers and got some really good responses.
  • I found the Wikipedia article on epub helpful in understanding the standard