The Dewline Newsletter II/3 ("The End of Steel and/or Steal: Corporate Criminality Vs. Collective Responsibility" (Nov-Dec 1969)) which included the famous card deck

The Dewline Newsletter II/3 (“The End of Steel and/or Steal: Corporate Criminality Vs. Collective Responsibility” (Nov-Dec 1969)) which included the famous card deck

A Hybrid Publishing Consortium research report
by Simon Worthington and Christina Kral


A research case study focused on traces on the archive, revealing the hidden journey of a user through an archive, based on the Marshall McLuhan collection at the McLuhan Salon, Canadian Embassy, Berlin. The case study by the Hybrid Publishing Consortium (HPC), investigates the future of publishing and user engagement with museums, archives and libraries. HPC is dedicated to Open Source software development and enabling cross-media interoperability. Continue Reading…

Future for the Annotation of Digital Objects

Organizer: Dr. Yuk Hui, Simon Worthington, Hybrid Publishing Lab, Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University Lüneburg

Participants: Bob Stein (Institute for the Future of the Book, SocialBook), Christina Kral (A-machine), Claudius Teodorescu (University of Heidelberg), Andre Gaul + Nico (PaperHive), Thomas Kollatz (DARIAH), Paul-Emile Greffroy (IRI of Centre Pompidou), Johannes Wilm (Fidus Writer)

Date: 12th May (midday) – 13th May (evening)

Venue: Cent­re for Di­gi­tal Cul­tu­res, Sülz­tor­str. 21–35, 21335 Lüne­burg, 2. Floor

In the past decades, the proliferation of digital objects, the emergence of new technologies, and the globalisation of cultural objects, demand new conceptualisations and practices of annotation. Ontologies (formal ontologies, web ontologies) find their limits to fully contextualize the modes of existence of digital objects, since most of them are still derived from a narrow reflection and without considering the nature of the digital. Annotation finds its place, not only in the sense of assisting information processing and enhancing the searchability of digital objects (for the objects themselves, or in the objects), but also as interaction and concretisation of relations between the users and the objects with which they interact. This recalls us of what the ancient call Scholia, a commentary and annotation practice which finally shaped the scholiast and also the scholar. Annotation in this sense is less about classification, but closely related to learning, meaning that one learns and concretizes his or her knowledge through annotating or writing. With digital technologies, the concept of annotation has to be taken further, since it introduces semantic technologies, collaboration, sharing, recommendation. However annotation is either not taken seriously or shadowed by mere interaction, or slowly taken over by automation as in the case of Google and other semantic technologies. The workshop “Future for the annotation of digital objects”, hosted by the Hybrid Publishing Lab is an attempt to gather researchers from different disciplines, and to look into different practices and tools that have been developed and concerns which have yet to be resolved.

This two days workshop is an occasion to discuss further collaborations among researchers. We will invite international researchers who are working in the field to participate in this workshop, to map the current state of affairs and to look at different approaches to annotation of digital objects. The second aim of the workshop will be to discuss the challenges ahead and to figure out an agenda for development and for collaboration.


Noon – 19H, 12th May

Presentation of individual projects (20 minutes + 10 minutes discussion)
13:15 Introduction: Yuk Hui + Simon Worthington
13:45 -14:15 Simon Worthington + Christina Kral (A-machine)
14:15 -14:45 Claudius Teodorescu (Heidelberg)
14:45 – 15:15 Andre Gaul + Nico (PaperHive)

15:15 – 15:45 Coffee Break

15:45 – 16:15 Thomas Kollatz (DARIAH)
16:15 – 16:45 Paul-Emile Greffroy (IRI of Centre Pompidou)
16:45 – 17:15 Johannes Wilm (Fidus Writer)
Coffee Break 15 Minutes
17:30 – 18:30 Questions and Challenges
19:00 Dinner

10H – 17H, 13th May
10:00 – 11:00 Retake on Questions and Challenges from the last day
11:00 – 12:30 Bob Stein Lecture
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 16:30 Addressing Problems, Challenges, Collaborations

Inquiries: Dr. Yuk HUI, yuk.hui[a] Simon Worthington, simon[a]
Download Program and Abstracts

an archive

April 2015

Presentation of the Hybrid Lecture Player by the Hybrid Publishing Consortium at the annual Libre Graphics Meeting. An exploration of the Marshall McLuhan collection held at the McLuhan Salon in the Canadian Embassy, Berlin.

The Hybrid Publishing Consortium is pleased to announce the Hybrid Lecture Player, a new research publishing case study by the Lüneburg (Germany) based lab. It will be presented as part of the Libre Graphics Meeting on April 30, 2015, 13.20pm at the University of Toronto, Canada. Continue Reading…

Otlet diagramBook Remixing #03 is the third in a series of workshops for designing and making new types of hybrid books. The hybrid book, or unbound book, is an experiment to investigate what happens once the book is free of its current form of a printed book and usable in multiple and malleable digital forms. Continue Reading…

Traces of McLuhan – A Media Sprint at the Marshall McLuhan Salon


In late November, the Hybrid Publishing Consortium held a one day workshop at the Marshall McLuhan Salon in the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. This intense and positively stirring event brought together McLuhan scholars and software developers who all shared their views on working with and publishing from the archive. Together we mapped out these perspectives, potential needs and approaches.

The day concluded with a practical session hosted by Erich Decker and Matthias Helmut Guth from Cluster Asia Europe at the Heidelberg University. After showcasing their cross media annotation tools, they walked us through the technology, applying it to the specific case of the McLuhan archive and its video and textual content. Naturally this session could only raise awareness of what can be done and provide a feel for the workflow—it’s only just the beginning.

Hence, in early 2015 we plan, together with participants from the workshop, to complete two smaller projects that will focus on two particular works within the archive and employ the technology introduced during the media sprint. The aim will be to create small, tangible packages that can be used for educational purposes and the promotion of the archive and its content. More on that soon.

Happy new year!

Amongst the participants were Delphine Bedel, Sabine Claßnitz, Peter Cornwell, Eric Lars Decker, Baruch Gottlieb, Matthias Helmut Guth, Stephen Kovats, Alexander Kramer, Heinz-Günter Kuper, Martina Leeker and Steffi Winkler.



As part of our case study series, the Hybrid Publishing Consortium is organizing a closed, one-day media sprint using material from the McLuhan Archive (hosted at the Canadian embassy in Berlin), as well as documentation from the McLuhan Centennial ‘Re-Touching McLuhan’ conference.

Inspired by book sprints, we are using the same model of speedy production. Yet, instead of producing a book, we’ll be focusing on experimental visualizations that trace a user’s approach to the archive, crisscrossing through various media formats.

The media sprint will focus on the hidden parts of archives—the visitors journey through an archive, hence our title ‘Traces of McLuhan’. The event will look at a variety of ways to make these use-pathways visible and manifest as publishing resources or a publishing form itself. Besides exploring ways of making those trails visible, there is also question how those trails can become useful for other users. For example being stored and becoming part of the archive—as a meta-publication layer.

We will record the traces of a user’s activity and annotations of an archive. Related to the archive we have access to two components: Firstly, the existing documentation of McLumination events and secondly, the multi-media content provided by the McLuhan Salon. The essays will be used as a starting point or lens through which to interpret the archive’s collection and vice versa.

We will use four software authoring tools to create an experimental digital object/trace over the day long media sprint. First, Pandora, a video archiving software package. Second the Hybrid Publishing Lab’s own software ecology, A-machine, for textual markup. Third, Tamboti, from the Heidelberg Research Architecture for meta description frameworks. And lastly freizo from Data Futures a migration platform. The combined package will allow for speedy annotation, combination of text and video, as well as a meta description data output.

While participants will trace search and trains of thought, creating an extra layer on the archive, we’ll investigate how McLuhan is relevant today and how his work is used. We hope to challenge the established use of an archive as well as known publication formats, which is a perfect fit for McLuhan.

The case study is one of four studies that sits under the umbrella theme of ‘Designing the Book of the Future’. The theme represents the ambitions of our research to enhance the technology of Moveable Type and move beyond the industry pressures to make simple copies of the book form, such as the eBook.

The project is in partnership with the McLuhan Salon (Canadian Embassy, Berlin) and Data Futures project is based in the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Culture (Westminster University, UK), r0g_agency gGmbH, Cluster Asia Europe – Heidelberg Research Architecture – Heidelberg University.

The event will take place at the end of November and is closed to the public. We will share our discoveries on

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Last week the Hybrid Publishing Consortium presented their research project „Merve Remix“ at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In cooperation with the publishing house Merve and the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture (IMCC) of Westminster University the Hybrid Publishing Consortium had worked with 100+ books of the Merve catalogue. The project exemplary shows the range of possibilities for publishers and readers, emerging through digitization. Visit the prototype here:

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This was the first public outing of the software ecology the Consortium has assembled as A-machine. For the ‘Merve Remix’ project we were able to demonstrate taking their back catalog into a multi-format workflow with a website offering samples of publications as EPUB 3, HTML5 Book-in-Browser and PDF.

We would like to take this opportunity to deeply thank Tom Lamberty, Birthe Mühlhoff, Hannah Wallenfels and Peter Cornwall for their tremendous support in this project.
We will continue our collaboration and cooperation in the second stage of the prototype where will investigate the ability to remix book chapters and download the new remixed book or order a print-on-demand copies.Let the remixing begin.

Feel free to visit our other case studies and prototypes at:

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As visitors and researchers at the fair, we could explore what wider publishing community is currently up to.
The education section of the fair is a vibrant area of digital research. We particularly liked Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) ( with augmented books for children; as well as learning and course builders like Weeras ( and XCRIBA ( a plaform for publishing into educational contexts.


We are very excited to present our case study: the Merve Remix at the Frankfurt Bookfair. This collaborative research case study focussed on Merve Verlag’s back catalog (a selection of 100+ publications).

We deconstructed each publication, led by guiding questions such as: what is a book made of (recognizable traits), and what could a book become if the Pandora’s box of computation and digital networking was applied to publishing. We then translated the books into a machine readable structured document, allowing for all types of semi-automated, dynamic publishing processes to be applied—layout, multi-format conversion, distribution, rights management, reuse and remixing, translation, synchronized updates, payments and reading metrics.

For more information please check out the full description here.

For the Live Demo visit here:

We’ll be at Merve’s stand, located in Halle 3.1 – B129. Come by!

The workshop (closed) is part of an ongoing series of events and research publishing for coordination and interoperability between stakeholders in the open source digital publishing research community.

In the workshop we would explore these three topics:

  •     What standards are we each using in our workflows
  •     What do these standards need to address in our workflows
  •     Looking towards interoperability in API standards for multi-format publishing

Date: 2nd and 3rd July 2014 at the Hybrid Publishing Lab, Innovation Inkubator, Leuphana University, Lüneburg Continue Reading…

A Publication Taxonomy — an initial guide to academic publishing types, inside and beyond Academe

Dear Community,

Welcome to the Publication Taxonomy an exploratory listing project by the Hybrid Publishing Consortium. The Hybrid Publishing Consortium is the technology research arm of the Hybrid Publishing Lab and is made up of a team of six interdisciplinary researchers, developing open source software for multi-format publishing. Creating an exploratory taxonomy of publication types plays a role in our software design process helping us understand the boundaries of publishing forms.

When the Consortium started to compile a list of the various types of scholarly publications we had to keep in mind the challenge of a continuously changing technology landscape. This meant moving to a so called post-digital condition (although a contested term)–involving parallel usage of various media types, a new collaborative paradigm, a proliferation of tool sets and open access academic publishing.

To give some limits around what we define as a publication we agreed on three very open parameters–(1) the act of making a document public, (2) the involvement of textuality, and (3) a scholarly/academic orientation.

Acceleration best describes the overall condition for both the development of publishing and the shaping of the emergent post-digital scholar, blurring the distinction between the publishers workflow and the scholars textual creation. The renegotiation of new roles for publisher and scholar is one area where new publishing types emerge, especially where the act of reading becomes a new textual creation. An instability arises in
the scholarly workflow and how the scholar is organizing and adjusting her/his work steps within the post-digital condition. It also means an expansion of the very definition what constitutes a publication.

You are invited to edit and add to the list on GitHub, create an account and edit here

Aizkolariak (wood chopping) on the Trinitate Plaza in San SebastiánPicture: Aizkolariak (wood chopping) on the Trinitate Plaza in San Sebastián

The Hybrid Publishing Consortium, the publishing technology infrastructure project of the Hybrid Publishing Lab, looks into algorithms that underly digital publishing development, in a series of articles on our notepad blog. Starting with ‘Operational Transformation’ (OT) which underpins collaborative editing.

Issues and Experiences in Designing Real-time Collaborative Editing Systems. Professor Sun Chengzheng. Google Tech Talks, 2008.

Collaborative editing is making slow, halted, but significant progress into the field of text editing. Most people will be familiar with Etherpad and GoogleDocs, some people might have heard of MS Office 365, and in the mist of Internet mythology, 2008, there is Google Wave. All of these pseudo-real-time editors are using the OT algorithm for collaborative editing. There is an in depth comparison of Google’s and Microsoft approaches to the new office products by TechRepublic. But what is obvious is that the move away from the isolated authoring of the desktop word processor or DTP tools is on the horizon. Both these main word processor providers, Google and Microsoft, are now cloud based, with MS Office moving to subscription purchase only as of 2013.

OT had its origins back in the 1980s with work on ‘software versioning systems’ as used by GitHub, with an algorithm called GROVE (GRoup Outline Viewing Edit).

With the short comings being addressed in the 1990s by the likes of Professor Sun Chengzheng, of Singapore University, developing the OT algorithm.

OT was designed for collaborative editing on networks, like the internet, with long time delay in communication, known as high latency. With a potential 64,000 km round trip for a document between to collaborators on the internet, the latency is at a minimum of 200ms. Where as a word processor user expects feedback times of under 100ms, so something has to give. It could be said that OT fudges, or fakes, real-time collaboration to achieve the appearance of real-time editing for the user. If multiple users are editing a document the potential variations quickly spirals out of control once you are above three users, making the computation problem very hard to solve.

OT’s trick, which is carried in it’s name ‘Transformation’, is to shuffle around in the background all the potential scenarios, or potential ‘Transformations’, and distribute them to the different users computers. For real-time collaborative editing, not every character typed needs to be distributed to all users simultaneously, hence this background shuffling of potential ‘Transformations’ can take place. But what needs to happen is consistency and convergence, hence this background shuffling will enable feedback to a user who goes to edit a line of text on their own screen that happens to have been deleted by another user earlier, but wasn’t updated in time to refresh the editors screen.

The Node.js the Javascript framework is also using OT in the form of Share.js. Share.js was written by a former Google Wave engineer and is Open Source and in the notes on the site shows how difficult the real-time collaborative editing problem has been, with Google Wave taking two years to build and the engineer saying it would take the same amount of time to rebuild. In a way Etherpad points to difficulties of developing OT. If you look at Etherpad’s text editing functionality, it does real-time well, but its a long way from being a word processors, about fifteen steps away, but these are steps that will get made, then word processing will become a whole new ball game. 

Operational Transformation Frequently Asked Questions and Answers



In exploring the complexities and speculative futures of academic publishing the HPL is developing new tools, systems, infrastructures and ideas within a problem space that is both trapped within feudal academic knowledge exchange system, and rapidly changing everyday. From the death of Aaron Swartz to the scurrying realignments of the big academic publishers with their digital counterparts; there is an urgency for new ideas to develop new systems that question the exclusivity, inaccessibility, narrowness, and conservativism of the feudal systems to take on a more democratic form. Knowledge managed by the few will, by necessity become knowledge managed by the many. While there are many reasons why knowledge needs to be opened, I agree with Brian Whitworth and Robert Friedman when they say the major drive for this movement will be that ‘only democratic knowledge exchange can scale up to support the breadth, speed and flexibility modern cross–disciplinary research needs.’We now find ourselves between a print past and a digital future characterized by hybrid, transitional, and in perpetual negotiation; a condition that that requires us to engage with other researchers and practitioners and to anticipate constant reinvention, and to anticipate a multiplicity of ideas. The Hybrid Publishing Lab was developed to begin tackling some of these big issues through trandisciplinary research (and design).

Continue Reading…

Kuda book archiveThe Hybrid Publishing Consortium is taking part in a two day workshop on publishing from archives ‘Archive/Live Archive/UnArchive & Public Library workshop’, Novi Sad – Serbia, as part the programme called Art and Aesthetics Education Expanded.

Hybrid Publishing Consortium is taking part in the workshop to examine the publishing workflow of the digital scholar so that we can understand how single source can fit into these workflows. The result of the workshop for the Hybrid Publishing Consortium will come out of the workshop with a number of documented workflows that we will then use on our single source software design.

Continue Reading…


Even the last seat of the conference room was taken. That was something the organisers of “Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference” hadn’t expected. JISC Collections in partnership with OAPEN Foundation have obviously hit a nerve with their two days event in the British Library, and their excellent choice of experts discussing the current state of OA monograph publishing may have helped. (Lovely keynote by Jean-Claude Guédon!)

In a nutshell: there is a lot going on in academic publishing at the moment that is of interest for our Hybrid Publishing Consortium researching and developing Open Source publishing software. This blogpost can not do the conference justice but only mentions a few points. Continue Reading…