Insight on web publishing can be found in the oddest places. Take for example, this fascinating bit of early scientific observation, lucidly and meticulously related:

“Observe what happens when sunbeams are admitted into a building and shed light on its shadowy places. You will see a multitude of tiny particles mingling in a multitude of ways… their dancing is an actual indication of underlying movements of matter that are hidden from our sight… It originates with the atoms which move of themselves [i.e. spontaneously]. Then those small compound bodies that are least removed from the impetus of the atoms are set in motion by the impact of their invisible blows and in turn cannon against slightly larger bodies. So the movement mounts up from the atoms and gradually emerges to the level of our senses, so that those bodies are in motion that we see in sunbeams, moved by blows that remain invisible.”

(from Lucretius‘s  “On the Nature of Things“)

After pondering this passage for some time in the context of digital publishing, I came up with a new project idea. Not that I need any new ideas right now, seeing as how my current projects haven’t been able to repair my shoes yet, or replace my aging laptop. But still, a great idea is a great idea. This passage had me thinking of shedding light on unknowns, and the curation and filtering that we now need in place on the Web. The overarching truth that powers the observation here is that light only penetrates enclosed spaces when the source is properly aligned with an opening.

So what is the opening?

In my answer to that question, it’s a window on a world of literature outside the realm of what’s available in your standard outlets. It’s a community of editors, in short, who are taking unusual, unpublished works and presenting them for the first time to the world, with a twist: they are all linked, and illuminate each other. In other words, they are not admitted unless they somehow enhance or speak to each other, and the links between them and other media are just as important as the content within each volume. This outlet brings illumination to titles that are otherwise shadowed by disconnected, monochrome systems. Each editor may use it to build community, market a single book, or sell online access to many books. It belongs to all editors, is the publisher for each, and brings all their books into one web of books, accessible through any mobile browser.

That’s the next thing, when I get a chance.

 

Aaron

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