IFB is my acronym for The Institute for the Future of the Book. If that sounds like an academic title to you, give yourself ten points and a big salty pretzel.
My personal experience with academic interest in newly-emerging media is that it’s just that: academic. I’m always interested in the research and the sifting and the critical analysis, and I’m always thankful that someone is documenting everything and poking around in the less-commercial corners. I’m also usually left wanting for something concrete.
But that, as the academics might say, is my bias. And I’m open to that criticism. Which is why I’m pointing to the IFB despite their mushy mission statement:
The printed page is giving way to the networked screen. The Institute for the Future of the Book seeks to chronicle this shift, and impact its development in a positive direction. The Institute is a project of the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California, and is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Is it just me, or is that last sentence not really part of the mission? And what exactly is a ‘positive direction’? Twenty tenure-track book-as-new-media positions nation-wide in the next five years? Fifty?
But enough frivolity. Academic sites are usually excellent at one thing, and that’s screening out parasites and marketing weasels. While prone to guru love in their own way, academics tend to draw the line at fee-based solutions fueled by motivational blather.
The IFB site has a number of links on the home page, including a two-hopper from here to this interesting (academic) treatise on transmedia storytelling. The intervening hop is a post on the IFB blog, which is relatively current and seems to have a good signal to noise ratio.
As an aside to any insulted academics, I grew up in a college town and come from a family of teachers. So yeah, I have issues. 🙂
— Mark Barrett