Tuesday 14th February, 2012
11:35am to 12:20pm
If it Bends, it’s Funny
“If it bends, it’s funny. If it breaks, it isn’t.”
That’s Alan Alda as Lester, in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors.
It’s also what happens when you use industry standards—like ONIX, and ePUB—to move book discovery in a different direction. One closer to how the reader thinks of discovery, and further from how the standards present themselves.
The reality is, when you start using ONIX and ePUB to enable new forms of discovery, you have a honeymoon period where, for the most part, it’s funny. Conventions and ways of doing things locked in these standards that you can bend, you can twist, to get to where you need to go. You can laugh it off as you wonder, wouldn’t it be better if things weren’t done this way?
The honeymoon ends quickly when you realize, to really get to that new place—a scalable way of discovering and connecting creative works that starts with simple models of user behavior first, and works backward from that—you have to break the standards.
At Small Demons, we’ve been bending ONIX and ePub for some time now, and we’ve built a set of hacks around their limitations. This talk will share learnings from the past year of adapting standards meant to do some things well to a whole new set of tasks, for which they aren’t really suited, but where they’re still the only game in town. The audience will see new uses for familiar data, a number of use cases where the data bends, those where it breaks, and suggestions on how we can move forward with a set of practices that meet the needs of “reader first” discovery.
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