A few months ago I stumbled across Gitbook, a tool that allows you to publish content as Markdown/HTML and then access it in a range of formats appropriate to web, print and mobile. I’ve written about it in a post on inclusivity, but it really deserves it’s own post and some wider recognition.
Here’s a video overview of the Gitbook web interface when you set up a new project.
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What draws you in is the thoughtfulness that has gone into the design and the simplicity. You can set up your account with standard social media accounts; Facebook, Twitter, Google+ to verify authorship but if you also do any code development you can link the account to GitHub creating extra opportunities for publishing documentation. You can import Github, a Word document or HTML making it simple to work with existing material.
In the same way as Github, you can allow your publications to be forked/remixed by others and when you commit/save a change it has associated metadata with author, time date etc. You also have version control, so individuals/groups could work on different branches/versions, making it a pretty exciting tool for collaborative writing work.
If you’re familiar with CSS styles, you can also customise separate styles for each format, so you can have your .pdf looking different to your web version, which might be useful for readability purposes.
There’s an editing app for Mac, Windows and Linux, meaning you don’t have to use a code editor when you’re offline.
I’ve started a couple of projects in Gitbook; one about Digital Literacies in HE, as I think there might be room for a collaborative publication in the area and another is my portfolio for Certified Membership of the Association for Learning Technology which is gradually developing.
As if all the features and apps weren’t enough, you can even have enterprise accounts, which would mean all of your institutional documentation can live as code, facilitating better governance, interoperability, transparency, accessibility… literally every buzzword that you need to tick off for HE.