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Publishing in the Digital Age

Posted By Lauren Rabb, University of Arizona, Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I should say upfront that concepts such as "open share,” "Google Goggles,” and "rich media” are new to me; and that when I hear the word "publishing” I still automatically think of a book or a catalogue.  But I’m open to learning!  And if I learned anything at this multi-viewpoint presentation, it was that most of my colleagues are like me – confused about what digital publishing is or can be, and a bit wary.


Nik Honeysett presented first in this session, and if there was an award for most entertaining presentation at the conference he would win hands-down.  He brought humor, detailed information, and even an admittance of uncertainty to the subject of museums sharing all of their images and data in one portal.  If he didn’t entirely convince me that my museum should immediately throw out our rights and reproductions policies and begin being more open (at least with other institutions), he did come close. 


I think that 90% of what Rui Guerra said was technical and over my head, and so to do it justice I’m going to let others tell you what his presentation was about!


Ed Marquand, on the other hand, is a man whose work is familiar to me.  He still believes in the good old-fashioned hand-held object that one can pick up and peruse at one’s leisure.  He still loves the joy of flipping pages, the beautiful coffee-table book illustrations, the ability to access information without waiting for the computer to warm up.  Although he acknowledges that times are changing, and the economics of online publishing are hard to resist, and that the quality of information available online is constantly improving – as are the opportunities for utilizing the Internet in new, creative ways, he feels the exhibition catalogue or accompanying book is here to stay for the foreseeable future.  And I, for one, am happy to hear that.

Lauren Rabb, Curator

University of Arizona Museum of Art

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