Hi Alec, all...
Thanks for the response - glad these ideas generate some excitement! Sorry for the delayed response - I actually had a hell of a time logging back into this forum (seems very secure! :)
We would love some advice as to what the right mechanisms for pursuing the goals of a multimedia submission and presentation system within or on top of OJS are. Your adaptations list above is really useful. It may be that a lot of what we’re after can be accomplished via plugins? Good to know that the priorities in any case. We would be very interested in becoming a ‘partner’ journal for driving development, in any case.
To get discussion brewing (hopefully!) I’ll list a few plain language ideas we’ve bandied about for continent. If we could get peoples thoughts and impressions on these, especially if there are already ways of accomplishing them, that would be excellent.
Our current push is to try and get a bit of funding in to develop in OJS for continent and the community a set of tools for interlinked and direct uploading of any type of digital media. For our journal, a main tenant of this direction is that there should be a ‘media agnosticism’ in the way that both submissions and presentation/publication of works/articles. We reject the prioritization of text over image, book over video, research over creativity. This is an ever-changing concept for our publication, one which by definition must remain open, but one that we think is an interesting and exciting part of the future of academic and online publishing. We are looking to tap our board of advisors to help articulate these ideas further (this amazing group currently includes Clay Shirky, author of 'Here Comes Everybody'), as well as help advise development.
So here’s a very forward looking, long list of what we’d like develop in OJS:
1. Submission of multimedia. This would allow submitters to select a type of submission (photo, video, sound, other, etc) and submit this via the usual review system offered by OJS. Because uploading, transcoding and hosting of any type of media files is something thats hard to “get right” we encourage the use of existing leading media hosting services like Vimeo for video, Flickr for photosets, Soundcloud for audio etc. There could also be account linking between OJS logins and these sites, much as social media sites are doing (via Facebook/Twitter login, OpenID etc)
2. Review of multimedia. Paired with the above, it would be great if the review process now associated with text and article submissions could also preview, embed and allow comments on the same multimedia pieces referred to above (either uploaded or hosted). This would require admin interfaces for playing, perhaps timeline-tagging and rating multimedia for acceptance or rejection by the journal.
3. Presentation of multimedia. The final step to this chain is, of course, being able to embedded hosted and uploaded journal media, automatically as part of the acceptance procedure of compiling an issue full of articles. There would be a good amount of work to do here providing formatting constraints and dealing with players, file types, online conversions, and interlinking. Again - if this could work like social media currently does with Wordpress-like sites, automatically embedding and applying CSS styles, etc., all the better (but this is no small task, I realise).
4. Direct links to downloadable versions of each article. Currently, we format and generate PDFs of each article and include these as links, so that interested readers can grab a copy to read later in a presentable format (instead of printing from the browser). For a publication addressing certain humanities communities concerned with digital aesthetics, this has proven quite important as people still very much ‘pass around’ PDFs, and it’s also (kind of oddly) a kind of validation of the publication to have PDFs available. What would be great for text is a PDF generator for the journal with a layout manager that the Editors could control/author. Likewise, something of this kind for multimedia (specifying a maximal resolution, download type, etc.) would be great.
5. Auto generation of ‘packaged’ versions of entire journal issues. This is less defined in our current design discussions, as there are difficulties imagining what the ‘downloadable’ version of a multimedia journal should be. An application? A set of folders / files? This latter idea seems straightforward if OJS could, given a fully configured journal issue with all articles, generate a ‘.zip’ of the whole issue, with text converted to PDF (as per point 4.), video to an appropriate format, audio to MP3, etc., in a formal structure of folders that made sense to the user when unzipped. Static versions of a packaged journal issue would also be great - but difficult here is the idea of a ‘rendering’ engine that might include a large PDF edition, which automatically uses the poster frame from a video to format a ‘page’ representing its position and article description in the document.
All of this, in our particularly context, would in a perfect world need to be implement in a way that people who don’t code CSS or fully understand “embed tags.”
So that’s a lot of stuff, and quite general in scope, but hopefully gives a sense of our end goals. Thoughts? Again - if anyone out there is interested in such things, we’re really looking for collaborators to move forward with funding/resourcing a development push in this direction.