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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsHSE Students Presented Digital Books at non/fictio№18

HSE Students Presented Digital Books at non/fictio№18

On November 30, 2016, the ‘Digital Publishing’ course was presented at the book fair non/fictio№18. Students of the ‘Media Production in Creative Industries’ MA programme who have just published several digital collections, spoke about how to produce a book in two months. The lecturers shared their opinion on the challenges and difficulties of the course, and the writers and publicists – on their experience of participating in the project.

The third wave of the ‘Digital Publishing’ course concluded with the presentation of seven digital books produced by the students. The following lecturers took part in the preparation and production: Alexander Arkhangelsky, HSE Tenured Professor, lecturer, writer and TV presenter; Alexander Gavrilov, Director of the Book Institute, co-founder of Ridero publishing platform, Vladimir Kharitonov, Executive Director of the Association of Online Publishers, and Anna Novikova, Professor of the School of Media, Academic Supervisor of the programme ‘Media Production in Creative Industries’.

‘We decided that we will let the students gain some experience of publishing digital books by ‘real’, serious authors. Fiction was clearly not suitable for this, but collections of articles and tutorials are just the right format. So we came up with the idea of inviting authors whose texts could be brought together into collections to take part in the project,’ says Alexander Arkhangelsky. ‘You can either be the first or the best. We are the first! Our followers are likely to do it better, but they will never be the first.’ Electronic collections published by HSE MA students are not random student books. HSE School of Media is likely to have organized full-cycle book publishing.

The books have a variety of themes and formats. The book on ancient mythology in modern life by Gasan Gusejnov, HSE Tenured Professor, was published under the title ‘History of Everything: Lectures on Myths’. ‘Cinema in a Changing World’ is a monograph produced by the State Institute of Art Studies and prepared by the staff of the institute’s media arts department.  ‘There is a common problem in research institutes – the books sit there on a publication list and sometimes don’t look colourful when published. This is where digital publishing can help,’ says Anna Novikova.

Students also publish dictionaries. One of the books ‘Contemporary Media Notions. The Experience of a Compatibility Dictionary,’ is written by Sergey Strashnov, Professor at Ivanovo State University. Work on the dictionary was a technical challenge for the students.

Publications by art critic and historian Andrey Kovalev were collected in the ‘Book of Changes. Materials for the History of Russian Art’. ‘I started to collect my texts from 20 years of research work so that we could produce this book. And it was a process I found useful. Also, as the author of the book, I didn't need any funding for this digital edition,' says Andrey Kovalev.

Alexander Gavrilov

Lecturer, Director of the Book Institute, co-founder of Ridero publishing platform

The publisher's aim is to help the book to be issued and to reach the targeted reader. That’s why we as publishers need a lot of information. During the course, we take a practical and analytical approach to using self-publishing tehcnology that traditional publishers view as being on the sidelines. But it will soon be at the heart of the publishing industry. So in this workshop we see the dawn of a new publishing business. The course is short, but intensive.


Mary Sargsyan

Student, ‘Media Production in Creative Industries’ MA programme

For two months we worked don this project 25 hours a day — now we know exactly what digital publishing is and how it works. For me the project was, first and foremost, a tremendous responsibility. I would like to thank our lecturers and sponsors for enabling us to become professionals in two months.

Non/fictio№18 is the largest book fair in Russia, this year it was held on November 30 – December 4. Over 400 events, including the first presentation of the students’ digital books, took place in the framework of the event.