March 10, 2005

Institute for the Future of the Book

by Scott Rettberg · , 2:55 pm

It looks like Bob Stein has been busy. The founder of the late 80s/early 90s CD-ROM publisher Voyager, he’s moved from Nightkitchen, the e-book development platform his team developed from the mid 90s until earlier in this decade, to The Institute for the Future of the Book, which was founded last year. It looks like many aspects of Nightkitchen will be preserved within the Institute, but moved from a for-profit to a not-for-profit framework. The Institute for the Future of Book has secured generous funding from the Mellon Foundation (a $1.3 million grant), the MacArthur Foundation, and its colocated host institutions, The Annnenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California and Columbia University. The mission described on the Institute’s site is “is to play an important role in developing the form and function of books in the digital era.” The Institute will develop tools, including TK4, a new, open source version of expanded book software, will host two symposia next year, and also hosts a pretty cool blog. I notice that Kim White, the author of The Minotaur Project, which was one of the works shortlisted for the 2001 Electronic Literature Award, is one of the Institute for the Future of the Book’s six staff members. This should be an organization worth watching.