Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Marginalia on Steroids

Here is a video created by the Squeak-based Sophie-server project being done by a software architecture group at the University of Potsdam in Germany. It shows how a Sophie server-based technology can be used to enrich the way of reading books.

Sophie Server is a server application providing functionality to be used through Sophie Author, Sophie Reader, or even a Web browser. Sophie Server provides a home for all Sophie Books that exist in a shared networked environment, allowing users to search for, access, and contribute to them. The Sophie project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. See my earlier post for more information on the project.

As you can see in the video, Sophie is not just a tool to render traditional paper books for reading on a screen. Instead, the project goes way beyond the notion of eBooks by leveraging the deep interactive capabilities of your networked computer. Sophie is basically an easy-to-use digital media assembly tool which allows both you and others to combine images, text, video, and audio into a single multimedia document containing multiple layers of information. This approach promises to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of creative people.

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