Cocoon Culture No.47



Holeman-Press : The multi format/media/channel publication of "Ogglebokk"

A brief account of the publication process : Learning and Findings.
Revised : 12-09-2001

Background :

The background for the project has been to explore the new possibilities that alternative publication channels (i.e. new technology, internet, wireless) and formats (i.e. web, wap, pda, sms) give. Both from  an author's and a publishers perspective.
The basis for project was the printed-edition of the poetry collection "Ogglebokk", by the Norwegian born  universal artist Svein Magnar Lie.

WEB-edition : (photographic)

Published to on 24.November.1999.
The web edition was designed to be as close to the printed edition as possible. The source publication was scanned, compressed, and formatted using HTML. The typographical idea was that the pages would appear as floating in space before the reader, with a photographic quality.
The Navigation was kept as simple as possible, with options for next page & previous page. Later on an option for selecting a specific page from a list was added.

The main benefit from using a photographically representation of the publication is that the information loss is minimal. In this publication the visual and non-textual information played an important role for the perception in the readers mind. This aspect also applies to the other formats, which will give another impression to the reader.

The main disadvantage with this approach is page load time. Since size requirements for maintaining a readable A5 page was found to be 80 kB, using jpeg-compression. Load time varies between : 5s (128kb) 11s(56kb) and 25s(28.8kb). This is however the worst case scenarios, and the page appear immediately but may take this time before it is loaded. It was thought that it would appear as a fax transmission on slower transmissions, and therefore acceptable. With time this problem is anticipated to disappear, and as such is just a temporary technical limitation.

The other main problem with photographic presentation; was that of search ability. Since all information was presented non-textually; there was nothing left for the search-engines to hold-on to than page titles and page headers. The content was not searchable.
This problem was however anticipated, and all textual information relating to a page was added in the meta-tags for that page. This might be cool cause a hit on phrases in search engine with yield a graphic result.

As a result of reader feedback, a downloadable edition was also developed. [ see ] note ! in Norwegian

SMS-edition :

Published to Telenor's SMS Central (+47 9000 2100)  on 12.June.2000.
Accessed by sending the message CC47 OB to number 1995.
Due to the limitations of max. 160 characters pr. message, a screening of suitable poems had to be made. Approximately 30 items where found suitable. These where specially formatted for ease of reading. Special attention where paid to overcome the non-existing formatting capabilities of sms.

It was found it would be to complicated to providing navigation capabilities for the poems. Therefore there is no navigation, instead a random poem is selected for each request. This proved to be quite successful, adding a horoscope like feel to the service.

[ more ] note ! in Norwegian.

WAP-edition :

Published to Cocoon culture no.47 wap channel : on 23.June.2000.
The formatting language used for this purpose was WML (Wireless Markup Language), which is basically a subset of HTML with reduced functionality in order to reduce transmission and memory cost.
WAP(Wireless Application Protocol) is just the underlying transmission protocol, and are likely to become faster in the near future when faster than GSM technologies such as UTMS or whatever comes along.
Anyway this WAP-stuff provides means of formatting information and using grafix on WAP enabled mobile phones, although few of the current models have implemented these pozibilities.

Main challenge was to provide an easy way of navigation. The phone display is very limited in size, and to long menus and to deep a hierarchy makes the reading difficult. Two levels of navigation where selected. At level One, The user can select a  page range, that they want to select poems from. They are then taken to the Second level, where poems are displayed with tittle and page number. When a poem is actually selected, navigation from poem to next poem can be made easily; providing an option for sequential reading without all the mess of navigation.
All Author/publisher information where also presented on the first level. Giving information about the author, even a medium resolution mug-shot picture.

Drawbacks : At the moment (at least in Norway), the current communication cost of WAP browsing is very  very expensive. But with time, when Telenor and the likes are finished sucking developers dry and aim to target the mass-market the cost will come down. Probably in some kind of subscription package deal bundled with a WAP phone, making it more affordable.

Advantages : It was great fun to develop the "application", the technology is at a more primitive level; more like in the old-times with C-64 and modems and stuff.
WAP/WML provides a way for presenting information anywhere anytime to anyone. At the current state of the technology, it is particularly suited for textual information. (But just you wait, there'll soon come someone along and mess the whole thing up with some user-friendly crap)

PDA-edition :

Published to on 11.August.2000
There is really not that much to be said about the PDA edition. PDA's use HTML for formatting, same as any PC WEB browser. Primary limitation is screen width and graphics capabilities (resolution & color); and of course download time and telecommunication cost.
In the PDA edition all information (except page banner gfx.) are removed, providing only textual information. The total size of the "application" is app. 30 kb, and collected in one file. Download time with a transmission speed of ca. 14.4kb (GSM) should be approximately 16 seconds. This makes the total response time quite long, but hopefully the user will be able to start reading right away. The advantage with doing it like this, rather that using lot of different pages, is that it may save communication cost. Once the "document" is downloaded, the user can disconnect and browse in it offline.

Conclusion / Summary :


With time there will come tools that will simplify the process of publishing in different channels/formats. From what I can see now, once you have the digitized text the translation to PDA, WAP & SMS is almost given. With WEB edition's there is more room however; since the user can be assumed to be sitting on a high-powered PC and a low cost high speed communication line. This gives room for other formats : such as audio/video. For instance audio-books, videos etc. But for now, that would be to stray to far off the original idea. This is how ever already in use on site's such as and (Genre : spoken).

Note : all of this html/wml stuff is in reality nothing but data-compression; where certain information deemed irrelevant are peeled off. Creating a more easily transmittable representation. This is acceptable if the txt is all there is to it. But with time, further along the road, the information aspects of the non-textual information will also become apparent. As with the LP & CD vs. psycho-acoustics.

Recently there have been talk about e-book reading machines : and publications. As far as I'm concerned I do not think their gonna fly very far. From a publishing point of view, it looks something like the secure music initiative and digital audio. More likely that PDA's will be used for reading books in the future or some other multi function wireless device.

Questions : Contact :

If you have any questions or comments regarding the multi-publication project. Feel free to make contact :
Holeman-Press, Ted Holeman (v.p.) e-mail :

References / related articles / resources :,1284,38061,00.html     - The Future of E-Textbooks by M.J. Rose


Copyright 1999-2002 Cocoon culture no.47 . All rights reserved.
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