HP Labs: supporting the future of publishing through Open Innovation

The growing use of wikis on the World Wide Web has created new ways for people to collaborate in the production of a wide range of media, and researchers from HP Labs’ Web Services and Systems Lab (WSSL) are following these trends with interest.

In the spirit of Open Innovation, WSSL is supporting one of the leading academic research groups working in the field of future web publishing, the Open Publishing Lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), in New York. The Open Publishing Lab, which received an HP Innovation Research Award last year, in conjunction with WSSL, will be under the spotlight at a technology festival in New York on Saturday, May 2 2009.

The Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival non-hp site will feature more than 400 exhibits and activities from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Visitors to the show will experience the breadth and depth of RIT through interactive presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exhibitions, and research projects set up throughout the campus. The Open Publishing Lab (stand #292), will feature an exhibit that demonstrates its view on the future of publishing.

Visitors to the exhibit follow the future of publishing through activities including creating their own personalised Rochester travel guide. The core of the system is a browser extension that collects text, images, graphs, tables, etc. from multiple online resources and transforms this content into a well-formatted publication for print. It enables users to grab selections within a page, preserving the content structure, and the means to capture additional metadata – information about information. The travel guide is formatted so that it can easily be viewed on a portable e-book reader. This software was developed by the Open Publishing Lab with the support of the HP Innovation Research Award.

The Open Publishing Lab non-hp site is a multidisciplinary research group focused on developing next generation publishing applications. Based in RIT’s School of Print Media, the Lab releases its applications through the web, free of charge, as soon as they are developed for the benefit of the wider community and its partners.

In HP Labs, WSSL is also interested in a number of publishing processes: for the web; for print, and for the emerging market of e-books and e-paper. Steve Battle, one of the WSSL researchers in Bristol, explains: “Our aim is to support collaborative models of publishing over the web. In particular we envisage collaborators using Wikis to assemble reports, papers, journals and books.

“We're pleased to be supporting RIT because this research is in an area we are investigating -- integrated documents of the future, and what this means for the future of print. We plan to use this technology as a model to enable people to “build and publish” a book together collaboratively.”