Proboscis has been working on a research project about algorithms, bias, trust and fairness with the University of Oxford, Horizon Digital Economy Institute (University of Nottingham) and the University of Edinburgh since September 2016. Our role has been to develop a “Fairness Toolkit” intended to stimulate awareness of these issues and to provide mechanisms for people to share their concerns and hopes, as well as for industry stakeholders (IT professionals, policymakers, regulators, activists, researchers etc) to respond, triggering a ‘public, civic dialogue’ about “our future internet, free and fair for all”.
The UnBias Fairness Toolkit is now available and free to download – you can read all about it in the Handbook below:
I’ve just completed a personal project in collaboration with my daughter Clara – Phantom Tomes, a book of imaginary titles cunningly reworked onto Victorian book covers sourced from the British Library‘s wonderful digital collection of public domain images. The book invites its readers to elaborate on the book titles by imagining their own publisher’s “blurb” or writing a review of the imaginary book. Each book cover has a blank page beside it purposefully for this storymaking task. As ever, the project is intended to inspire others to build upon our work and create their own versions of the activity, devising their own titles, covers and use of bookleteer as a simple and convenient way to share their creativity.
The titles are much inspired by the fantastic works of Edward Gorey and by long and venerable tradition of fictional books imagined by some of literature’s greats: Laurence Sterne, Jorge Luis Borges, Ursula LeGuin, Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino, Georges Perec & Stanislav Lem among many others.
Over the past couple of years Grace Tillyard has been leading a groundbreaking project to enhance breast cancer awareness in Haitian women and their communities. The project has been hosted by NGO Innovating Health International and funded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer.
As part of this project, Grace has co-developed with local people an information booklet and a Patient Notebook using bookleteer to help communicate more about the condition and the medical treatments available, as well as to allow people to record their own medical information in a dedicated book of their own. A second book covering cervical cancer has also been produced. Recently the United Nations Populations Fund have been instrumental in enabling IHI to print around 15,000 copies of each of the information books for distribution to communities across Haiti.
A Kreyol (Haitian Creole) version of the book folding instructions is also now available (see below).
With many apologies for the long disruption from being able to generate new eBooks and StoryCubes, I am hugely pleased to announce that bookleteer is fully operational once more.
An unplanned server upgrade caused a cascade of problems deep in the core of the Generator, the software that does the actual hard work of taking your content and flowing it into the Diffusion eBook and StoryCube formats. It has taken considerable efforts by Joe Flintham, bookleteer’s principal developer with the forensic brilliance of Yasir Assam, bookleteer’s original software developer, to analyse the root problem, fix it then chase down all the ensuing changes in dependencies.
Here are two fabulous new books created by Canadian artist Joyce Majiski, who has been one of bookleteer’s most prolific and exquisite users for many years:
Last Autumn, after 3 years and much fun selecting and sending out fine publications made and shared on bookleteer, I decided to end the Periodical’s monthly service. There were a number of reasons – some practical and financial – but I felt that as a project it had achieved as much as it could in its existing form. At its height there were over 80 subscribers across the world. Something like 60 different books were distributed during the 3 years, and there will be a few more that will be sent out to the last subscribers later this year as part of the LibraryPress Legacy project.
Since many subscribers were keen for the project to continue I will be considering options – the most likely being a once yearly round-up. If you’re interested in subscribing to this, please leave a comment on this post to let me know.
My work with anthropologist James Leach and the villagers of Reite in Papua New Guinea has defined much of my recent work with bookleteer and is shaping the trajectory of development in which it is heading. You can read about our fieldwork in PNG, about the TKRN project and the TKRN Toolkit or explore the lovely handmade books created by the community on the dedicated website I created for them. We are returning to Reite in April and May this year to do further work, and to expand the project into some neighbouring villages. We have also been invited to develop a parallel project with indigenous fieldworkers in the neighbouring island nation of Vanuatu. Later in 2016 we hope to facilitate some of the villagers from Reite to transfer their skills and knowledge of using the TKRN Toolkit to local people in Vanuatu.
This past year I have also been helping (in a small way) Grace Tillyard to develop her amazing Breast Cancer awareness and engagement programme for women in Haiti. The project is hosted by Project Medishare‘s Womens Health Centre in Port-au-Prince and recently received $60,000 in funding. Grace is currently co-developing with local people a new kind of Patient Notebook using bookleteer to help communicate more about the condition and the medical treatments available, as well as to allow people to record their own medical information in a dedicated book of their own. We hope to have a prototype ready this Spring for testing by the community.
LibraryPress Legacy I have also been collaborating with Peter Baxter of Camden’s Library Service to extend and continue the work of introducing self-publishing using bookleteer into London’s libraries that was initiated in 2014 and 2015 through the LibraryPress project. Last week we held a professional development workshop for Librarians from Camden, Hackney, Brent, Hounslow and Harrow. Over the next few months the aim is for these librarians to use bookleteer to create publications with library users as part of the many events to promote reading and literacy that take place. We shall be selecting some of these to be printed and distributed as part of a special issue of the Periodical.
June 2015 was the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta – considered by many to be the keystone to Britain’s constitutional and democracy. To celebrate and see the impact this document has had, over six months in 2015 I published a series of 6 books, each containing several texts from across the centuries that have been inspired by the Magna Carta. From the English Civil War era, to the French and American Bills of Rights in the late 1700s, the Chartists of the 1830s though to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Charter88 and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 2000. The final book in series contains Henry I’s Charter of Liberties (1100) on which the Magna Carta itself is based, the original 1215 Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forests of 1217.
What the series shows is a lineage stretching back to Saxon times of the struggle to assert and protect the inherent rights and dignities of ordinary people against the attempts by the wealthy and powerful to control and corral resources, assets and power for themselves, at the expense of everyone else.
Originally distributed to subscribers of the Periodical there are 35 sets remaining, each of which has been bound together with red satin ribbon in a special edition.
Each set costs £15 plus postage and packing: buy your’s here.
Yesterday I ran a Bookleteer Masterclass for Library professionals from the boroughs of Lewisham, Brent, Hounslow, Camden, Islington, Merton and Harrow at the Deptford Lounge. The event was part of our collaboration with the Librarypress project and was designed to introduce library staff to bookleteer and how they might use it in their own projects and activities with library users and local groups. We had a fantastic turnout with very inquisitive and engaged participants – it was wonderful to see them all getting straight down to making books and StoryCubes with text and images they had brought along with them specifically for the day. We will be selecting a series of books made by the participants for the Periodical over the coming months, as inspiring examples of what can be done with bookleteer to engage readers and local groups with library projects and services.
I’d like to encourage other library authorities who are also interested in using bookleteer as part of their services to get in touch : we are more than happy to offer workshops and provide consultancy on how bookleteer can used by the public and integrated within existing projects and services.
We have created an additional resource to help plan layouts and work out how many pages you need when devising your content for bookleteer. Two PDF documents are available, one for planning landscape books and another for portrait books.
Download the Landscape Planner or the Portrait Planner.