Open source book publishing gets a boost

Between Booki and Curriki, the efforts to get open-sourced books into classrooms could really move forward.

The idea of using open-source functionality in the book publishing field has, slowly but surely, gained more momentum textbooks could considerably ease college costs and of some attempts to jump-start efforts in this regard.

I've written before about how

One that I found rather amusing was via FLOSS Manuals (a project I've written about before - a group effort to get good manuals written for all the amazing FLOSS out there). The Amsterdam-based foundation has been working on another project: Booki's a new book production platform, which takes the same concept as FLOSS Manuals - collaborative online book writing - and expands it beyond the realm of just manuals.

With Booki you can write a book by yourself or with others, discuss your views, seek assistance from others, translate or reuse content and publish completed works.

Users not only can make paper books via Booki, but also ebooks. Apparently, these ebooks look killer on the iPad. I must admit, I got a chuckle out of the thought of the FLOSS manuals being read on an iPad.

Scott McNealy a call, as the former chief executive of Sun Microsystems is focusing his time and efforts right now on Curriki.

The Booki guys should give

The wiki community run by McNealy is a nonprofit "building the first and only Internet site for Open Source Curriculum" - the goal of which is to provide "universal access to free curriculu and instructional materials for grades K-12."

The ever-increasing costs of textbooks, not just on the college level, is a sore spot for McNealy, especially when, in some cases, the content has changed little (math, for example). And with the publishing technology available today, there's no excuse for books to be too expensive for schools to purchase, he believes.

What makes the site a little different from other well-meaning efforts is that it develops an entire curriculum with an open license and has a team of teachers, authors and technologists evaluating all materials. In other words, there's the same sort of rigorous fact-checking you'd expect from a major publisher.

Curriki's roots are in 2004, when Sun launched the Global Education & Learning Community. Two years later, the project was spun off as an independent nonprofit and it then changed names to Curriki - a combination of Curriculum and Wiki.

Materials are grouped into a variety of subject areas: arts, career & technical education, education, educational technology, health, information & media literacy, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and world languages. Featured resources this month include a butterflies and moths science kit, a grade 6 journalism unit, a novel study of "Tuck Everlasting" and a lesson on the maximum area of a triangle.

What other open-source book platforms are out there?

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