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ISSUU: Interesting Platform for Online Publishing

Issuu, with the tag line ‘Read the world. Publish the world.’ and pronounced ‘issue’, gives anyone the ability to upload a PDF document and publish it as an online magazine. I am intrigued by the possibilities of using this service to publish digitized archival records – especially those that would lend themselves to a ‘book’ style presentation (thinking here of a ledger or equivalent).

I am not sure I totally understand the implications of the Issuu Terms of service… especially this part:

By distributing or disseminating Uploader Submissions through the Issuu Service, you hereby grant to Issuu a worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, assignable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, license to host, transfer, display, perform, reproduce, distribute, and otherwise exploit your Uploader Submissions, in any media forms or formats, and through any media channels, now known or hereafter devised, including without limitation, RSS feeds, embeddable functionality, and syndication arrangements in order to distribute, promote or advertise your Uploader Submissions through the Issuu Service.

If I am following that properly, all the rights you are granting to the Issuu Service are only for the purposes of their distribution of your uploaded PDF.

Issuu has a special Copyright FAQ, which in combination with Peter Hirtle‘s page on Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States, should support those trying to figure out if they can upload what they want to upload without getting into copyright related hot water.

So how is it different from a plain old PDF? Take a look at the embedded Issuu viewer below showing a 1908 copy of The Colonial Book of The Towle Manufacturing Company Silversmiths.

I don’t think this would ever be the way you would want to give online access to digitized records in general – but I do think that this could be a great way to highlight a particularly impressive set or volume of documents. If an archives featured one of these a month on their homepage – would people subscribe to their RSS feed just to see the new one? On the actual page on which I found the above document, Issuu makes it easy to subscribe to the RSS feed for the Issuu author ‘silverlibrary’.

I don’t know why Issuu has decided that I must create an account before I may view document author silverlibrary’s user profile. I would hope that there was an elegant way for visitors to see a group of Issuu documents created by the same author without having to create an account first (or ever).

Want to know what others think? Take a look at Finally, a Web-based PDF Viewer That Does Not Suck (Issuu) over on TechCrunch. One interesting tidbit I picked up from that review is that Issuu is based in Denmark. I wonder what impact that has on which copyright rules apply to the documents uploaded into Issuu.

Want to read more about their vision? Of course they have a press release in the form of an Issuu publication and I have embedded it below. I think my favorite line is that Issuu is intended to be ‘YouTube for Publications’.

I would love to see a highlighted section created for ‘cultural heritage materials’ (or something like that anyway). Take a look around Issuu and let me know what you think. Is this a viable tool for an archives or manuscript collection to use to highlight parts of their collection?

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Posted in access, copyright, digitization, original order, software