Creating an app: the initial stages

July 12th, 2012 by Paula_Morris | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Creating an app: the initial stages
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The months have whizzed by since our first meetings in February with Claire Squires and Padmini Ray Murray to discuss the parameters of the AHRC Book Unbound  project.

Neither Scott Russell nor I live in Stirling, so our first production meeting was a phone call one chilly Monday in late February, where we discussed everything from mission statements to page counts, Twitter feeds to job descriptions. As Scott mentioned in his blog post, we presented these job descriptions, along with a call for content, to the Publishing and Creative Writing students, and waited for their response.

In March, the full steering committee – the Gang of Four – met to discuss the applicants for the project assistant roles. We had a lot of CVs and ideas to sift through, but we soon agreed on the three most suitable candidates: Helen Lewis-McPhee as Associate Editor, and two Production Assistants, Louisa Preston and Aileen Taylor. Our aim was to create a balanced team, with a range of experience (and, hopefully, some good ideas).

Our fleshed-out production team met in April, in a typically dispiriting university conference room. We gathered around the white board and discussed practical issues – like information-sharing via Podio and Dropbox – as well as creative ones. What kind of content could we expect for the app we were developing? What kind of attributes did we want the finished product to have? How would everything work together? What could we call this thing?

At this stage, Scott said, no idea was out of bounds. (‘Out of Bounds’: one of our title ideas!) Everything went up on the white board. We agreed that none of the title ideas were quite the thing, but that was OK. Maybe something would emerge from the content, or from the process of reading and working with the content. Two-and-a-half months later, we still don’t have a title. It’s still OK. I’m confident that something will strike one – or all – of us, as the app continues to take shape and come to life.


The Book Unbound – a short introduction

June 26th, 2012 by Scott_Russell | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Book Unbound – a short introduction
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The Book Unbound project aims to research the impact of new, digital technologies on the process of publishing and to create an iPad app demonstrating some of these technologies.

The idea was developed within the Centre for International Publishing Studies at University of Stirling in mid 2011. In late 2011 the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) called for research projects based around the concept of digital transformations. The Publishing Studies team, led by Professor Claire Squires, saw this as an opportunity to integrate the app idea with more formal academic research. We wrote a proposal and submitted it in November 2011.

After the AHRC approved the project this February, we assembled our project team: Claire Squires and Padmini Ray Murray from Publishing (carrying out case studies); Scott Russell (designing and developing the iPad app); and author Paula Morris, a lecturer in Stirling’s Creative Writing programme (editing and writing).

On 29 March the project was presented to postgraduate students in Publishing Studies and Creative Writing, and the students were invited to apply for several project assistant jobs. Claire introduced the project, Paula Morris described the opportunities for potential content providers, and Scott Russell demonstrated the proposed software platform, Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.

DPS was chosen for several reasons. As part of Adobe’s InDesign page layout application, Digital Publishing Suite allows iPad apps to be developed without using coding or other bespoke development services. This simplifies the production process and makes app development available to a wide variety of publishers. As the industry-leading page layout application, InDesign is already used by many publishers to create books and magazines.

Pricing for DPS is also multi-tiered with a low cost entry level, making it very competitive with traditional printing and making app development a possibility for individuals and small organisations. We chose to develop an app over an ebook as the interactive features offered by the app format offered more scope for transformation than those of an ebook.

The project has a fairly short deadline – the end of August 2012 – so the project group immediately set about creating a production plan, developing designs and creating a call for entries.

AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society

June 12th, 2012 by cs48@stir.ac.uk | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on AHRC PhD opportunity in association with the Saltire Society
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The University of Stirling is pleased to invite applications for a three-year Collaborative Doctoral Studentship, fully funded by the AHRC (UK/EU rate) with an additional contribution from The Saltire Society, plus associated expenses, to commence on 1 October 2012 or as soon thereafter as can be arranged.

This studentship will be a collaboration between the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication and The Saltire Society, a charitable organisation in Scotland. The project will focus on the Society’s book awards, which were established in the 1930s, and which were systematically awarded since 1982, as part of the Society’s overall mission ‘to foster and enrich the cultural heritage of Scotland’. Winners have included Alasdair Gray, Edwin Morgan, William McIlvanney, Norman MacCaig, Muriel Spark, Sorley MacLean, Iain Crichton Smith, George Mackay Brown, Liz Lochhead, Janice Galloway, John Burnside, A L Kennedy, James Kelman, Jackie Kay, Ali Smith and James Robertson; in addition to historians, literary critics, and biographers of Scotland, Scottish subjects and figures. The precise scope and emphases of the work will be shaped by the interests and initiative of the successful application in consultation with their academic supervisor, Professor Claire Squires. The successful applicant will spend some of their time based at The Saltire Society’s offices in Edinburgh, working alongside Saltire Society staff on the current Book Awards, liaising closely with Jim Tough and Sarah Mason (Executive Director and Programmes Manager of the Saltire Society respectively) and Professor Ian Campbell (Chair of the Book Awards judges).

Applicants must have a good first degree in an appropriate subject and a Master’s degree relevant to research into contemporary (late 20th/21st century) literature and publishing. A demonstrable interest in literary prizes and modern Scottish writing would be especially welcome, as would an interest in and aptitude for publishing and literary administration.

Eligibility to Apply

In order to apply, you must fulfil both the academic and the residency criteria laid down by the AHRC.

Academic eligibility – you must:

1. Have applied for and been offered a place to study at the University of Stirling (such an offer will be made to the successful applicant for this studentship);

2. Hold a relevant postgraduate Masters degree.

Residency eligibility – you must:

1. Be a British national normally resident in the UK; or

2. Be an EU national normally resident in the UK, the EU or Switzerland; or

3. Have been resident in the UK or EU for the past three years for reasons other than education.

For full details (particularly regarding residency eligibility, which has many conditions and exceptions), please see the AHRC’s Guide to Student Funding:

Further information on the studentship and on the application procedure is available as a pdf here: AHRC_SaltireSociety_CDA_fps. Potential applicants are welcome to contact Professor Claire Squires (claire.squires [@] stir.ac.uk or +44 (0)1786 467505) with any questions they may have.

Deadline for applications: 12 noon on Wednesday 11 July 2012.

Interviews will be held at The Saltire Society, 9 Fountain Close, 22 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TF during the week beginning 6 August 2012.

AHRC Digital Transformations Project: The Book Unbound

February 15th, 2012 by cs48@stir.ac.uk | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on AHRC Digital Transformations Project: The Book Unbound
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 We’ve just heard that the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication has been awarded a grant from the AHRC in its Digital Transformations Research Development call.

Our project, ‘The Book Unbound: Disruption and Disintermediation in the Digital Age’, will be led by the Centre’s Director, Professor Claire Squires, with Dr Padmini Ray Murray (Lecturer in Publishing Studies) and Dr Paula Morris (Lecturer in Creative Writing) as Co-Investigators. The staff team will be completed by Scott Russell, as an External Consultant. We’ll also be working with the Electric Bookshop in order to present some of our findings, and there will also be opportunities for collaborations between creative writing and publishing students.

The project will examine changing business models in the digital publishing environment and their impact on the communications circuit and notions of authority, authorship, audiences and access. It will do this both via a series of case studies, and an experimental mode (live publishing – watch this space!).

We’ll have a new website up with full details of the project soon, but if you’d like any information about it in the meantime, please get in touch via our Contact page.

AHRC studentships available

May 16th, 2011 by cs48@stir.ac.uk | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on AHRC studentships available
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If you’re thinking of joining us to study in the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication, we’re pleased to announce that Publishing is included in the Arts and Humanities Consortium of the University of Stirling and the University of Strathclyde.

We have fully funded AHRC studentships available for study in 2011-12, including for the MLitt in Publishing Studies, MSc in International Publishing Management, and MRes in Publishing Studies.

For more details on the awards, see the Consortium website: http://www.artsandhumanitiesconsortium.org.uk/Studentships.aspx

The deadline is Friday 10 June 2011, and please note that you must have made a full application for a place on the course by that date.

We’ll have similar awards for entry in 2012 and 2013, so if you’re not ready to join us yet, do check back next year!

For details of Saltire Scholarships for students from Canada, China, India and the USA, please see this News item.