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051: The Digital re:Publish Project - From Past to Present, 50 Years in the Making

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

A few months ago I released a mini series of podcast episodes all about digital publishing. In a Charles Dickens-esque fashion we travelled to the past, the present and the future of digital publishing. As part of a course I taught this winter semester, I asked my graphic communications management students to listen to the min-iseries and find inspiration to create their own professionally written articles about one of the ideas explored. From there they were to dive in to learn more about that specific slice of the digital publishing realm. There were many excellent submissions.

Now, what good is good work if it only ever exists in an assignment dropbox, seen by a single person? So I reached out to a number of students after the course was over to ask if they wanted to collaborate on this project with me. I was thrilled when I received 12 yes’s. My goal with this audio project is to lift this great work out of cyberspace and onto a platform for others to hear. In doing so, the original digital publishing miniseries has spawned its own mini series. Introducing: The Digital re:Publish Project; three new episodes about digital publishing, showcasing the work of talented soon-to-be second year graphic communications management students. Over the next three episodes I will interweave the students’ projects, original research and writing, into a narrative that roughly falls into the same past, present and future categories but with entirely fresh content. From the history of blogging, through to accessibility considerations, through to the world of NFTs and the ways in which AI could shape the future of digital publishing, there’s a lot of ground to cover. I’m excited for you to hear what students have been up to, in their own words and in their own voices. This is The Digital re:Publish Project.

Part 1: From past to present, 50 years in the making

In this first episode in the miniseries we hear from students documenting how we’ve arrived in today’s world of digital publishing. First Tristan will let us in on the history of blogging. Next Maria will provide an Overview of the current era of digital publishing. And then Aanya and Wendy will shine light on the technical aspects of Adobe InDesign vs. Pressbooks and Wattpad, respectively.

Tristan Aus explains the blogoshere.

Thank you, Tristan, for helping us better understand the history of blogging. Blogging is such a formative and powerful tool to connect the world. So much of what we know and experience in our day-to-day lives on the internet, sharing and sending, tweeting and tik toking, creating and connecting, has roots in the blogosphere.

Maria, please help us understand an overview of the current state of digital publishing.

Maria Shah explains the current state of digital publishing.

Thank you, Maria, for helping us understand where we are today in the world of digital publishing. Great content is certainly important, but the way it’s visually presented, including technical considerations of file construction (such as working font files and high quality images), as well as designing for maximum readability, must be carefully considered for digital publication, just as much as for a printed publication. Aanya, please help us understand the layout software options available to us and how they compare with one another.

Aanya Kumar explains the pros and cons of using InDesign vs. Pressbooks for digital publishing projects.

Thank you, Aanya, for helping us understand more about important software for creating digital publications, whether in a professional context or for your personal self-publishing projects and everything in between. While creating digital publications as a solo-effort is common, what if you didn’t have to have the entire work completed before you release it into the world? What if you were able to receive feedback as you create the content for your digital publication, your work shifting and morphing with each new reader’s input. Wendy, can you tell us more?

Wendy Yang explains Wattpad as a platform for digital collaboration .

Thank you, Wendy, for helping us understand the ways in which collaborative storytelling can be realized through a platform like Wattpad. And thank you to all of our contributors to this episode, Tristan, Maria, Aanya and Wendy for sharing your ideas in this episode.

There are so many exciting possibilities surrounding what we can create, share and build with the world through connecting our digitally published works with one another.

We’ll soon be releasing our next episode featuring four more emerging publishing minds who will teach us about what’s possible in publishing when we leverage technology. Remix culture, the notion of continuous publishing, the power of paywalls and accessibility and user interaction will all be explored. Stay tuned...

Meet Our Team:

Tristan Aus is a graphic designer currently studying Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University. They enjoy learning, creative writing and spend most of their free time creating comics. Look at Tristan’s creations here. Instagram.

Maria Shah is a 2nd-year Graphic Communications Management student at Ryerson University. She has completed many web design projects and loves to make digital and hand-drawn artworks. In her free time, she’s usually painting, learning a new musical instrument or cycling.

Aanya Kumar is a student in the Graphic Communications Management (BTech) program at Ryerson University. She was a Creative Associate for the first digital publication of the RyeTAGA student chapter publication. Connect with her about graphic design and brand identity on LinkedIn.

Wendy Yang is a first-year Graphic Communications Management (GCM) student at Ryerson University. Wendy is an art and design enthusiast and a recipient of the Canadian Printing Industries Scholarship. She can be reached on her LinkedIn profile.

Music (public domain via

Kesta - My Tribe

Kesta - Changed Tomorrow

Bio Unit - Ground Effect

Siddhartha Corsus - Constellations

Metre - Don't Hurry

Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle

Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Episode Cover Art: Canva



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