Talk: Closer to Metal

The shifting fundamentals of publishing

Set lead type for letterpress printing on the left, and on the right, a page of HTML for digital publication.

March 31, 2016 | ebookcraft | Toronto

The title for this talk came from our talented developer in Getty Publications, Eric Gardner. It refers to doing code work closer to the heart of computer language, with less layers of abstraction. For me, it also resonates with my early career working in letterpress and lithography print shops where the tools that created books were literally metal. There’s something to that connection I think.

In the talk itself, I posited that in order to better do our jobs as digital publishers and to move the field forward, we should all work toward being able to better act, write, and think like coders: share everything, operate in plain text or see the abstraction, look for patterns and variables, understand text strings versus data.

As a bonus to speaking at ebookcraft, Iris Amelia made this great illustration of my talk:

Portrait of Greg and his talk

Talk Description

Greg Albers, the Digital Publications Manager at Getty Publications, discusses the shifting fundamentals of book publishing, from setting lead type, to coding and the command line, while considering some key questions and diving into some practical applications. What are the few fundamental ideas we think authors and others should learn? What tools or lessons can we provide to get them there? What’s at stake and where will we go from here?

thanks for visiting!