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Category: DougDemo@50

Deep Linking for eBooks

This is based on the idea of a citation having two parts (document name and location/page number), just as it did in the physical world, and that the reader should be able to choose how to access the cited book or journal article. The proposal was then this:

1) Author selects text in a digital book (Kindle, iBooks, whatever) and chooses the option ‘Copy Location’ (same as we can do in YouTube videos). No copying of text is necessarily necessary.

2) The author then pastes this in their own book/article as a citation, which, importantly, has two parts:

• The document identifiers (name of book plus authors, ISBN and/or more – the more the better, for redundancy)
• The internal location (which different document types already have, this proposal is partly to establish a common standard which libraries will endorse)

3) The reader then has the option to follow this citation reference and the system presents a dialog (this is one of the key innovations we are talking about):

• This book is available on Amazon. Purchase it?
• This book is available on ‘Whatever online Store’. Purchase it?
• This book is available on Google Books. See the page? (full book not available)
• This book is available digitally from your university library. Access it?

At this point the user can choose whatever way they want to access the book – and here is the big deal: Once they choose how to access it (‘own’ it and the reader system knows what books are in what access application), the system will open the book to the very location referred to!

This means that copyright is not an issue but we have high resolution addressing. VERY useful I was told by many, which is nice.

Issues include

• Researching current in-document location systems and seeing which systems can be used universally
• Building relationships with book vendors to allow for what is sometimes called ‘deep linking’ where you can have a link and specify what application to launch it in. (We can of course build our own for testing before anyone else agrees to join us)

I have a friend who works at Audible but is very well connected within the rest of Amazon who I’ll present this to, in order to have it presented further in the company. Amazon already has a location system, which is why you can listen to a book on audible and then the Kindle page you are on will automatically update.


The benefit is that it makes it more easy to find, access and buy books, which is good for authors and publishers and it the benefit to the reader and author is the fluidity of movement within their knowledge environment.


Abstract for my presentation on the Summit of The Book

Abstract for my presentation on the Summit of The Book this weekend. A larger event has already started, with plenty of leaders of countries and tons of scrutiny. Emily and Edgar and I are just fish in this big pond. Sitting in the lobby at the Baku Fairmont, in the Flame building, gangster looking people everywhere, Edgar charming all, and thinking about the future:


“Deeper Literacy through more Interactive Text”The power of the written word derived by it’s ’symbol’ nature will not be eclipsed by the more accessible voice interfaces or representational visual media; The five and a half odd thousand years of evolution of writing has produced a complex and rich symbol space which the power of interactive computers will enhance, not make obsolete and we have the potential to be on the cusp of an age of ever deeper literacy.

I will look at this from some perspectives of what interactive text can be, with brief examples of my own commercially available work and that which I am building for my computer science PhD at the University of Southampton. I will also introduce the effort we are making to honour Doug Engelbart on the 50th anniversary of his seminal demo, on the 9th of December this year. This is an effort which I invite you to join us in exploring.

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Lorand Reply 7 March 2018

Lorand has the perspective and passion to warrant serious discussion.

First of all, I am not against AI, I think it’ll be useful and that it’s inevitable (though real hard work for the inventors). You know about J. C. R. Licklider : Man-Computer Symbiosis right? That’s the also my perspective.

I am simply focusing on symbol manipulation since I see very, very little work being done in that field. I feel that the symbols are the ‘stuff’ of work in our field, since there has to be something to work with:

Text is always ‘lossy’ yes, since getting something in and out of your head is always a process. Your reference to code is interesting and there are many aspects of text which I’d like to make more code-like. The notion of a ‘direct knowledge manipulation tool’ is quite provocative. Can you describe what form the knowledge takes and how it can be directly interacted with?

Your bullet points are great. Yes, we have a strong need to build ways to reduce the need for thinking, this is energy conservation and prioritising. Usually this is good, sometimes very, very bad. We need better means to see this and we need much more powerful ways to interact with our AI to help in this and other issues. I am happy to engage on this but I am not clever enough to offer anything substantial with AI.

I need to learn more about Dust please.

For the why, we agree.

Change the world? We have no real choice: yes.

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