UTSA publishes first e-book: Collaborative project features astronomy event

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UTSA's first e-book published by the Department of Physics and Astronomy

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(Aug. 1, 2013) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has published its first e-book. The digital book is a collection of academic papers, videos and interactive images from a conference hosted by the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy in November 2012 that brought together some of the world's top astronomers. Torus Workshop 2012 is now available in 51 countries as a free download from the Apple iBooks application as well as in PDF format for any device.

>> To download the e-book, search for "Torus Workshop 2012" on an iPad. Download the PDF of the proceedings on any digital device from the UTSA Libraries website.

UTSA astronomy assistant professor Chris Packham worked hand-in-hand during the course of the project with UTSA Libraries instructional designer Heather Williams.

"As my colleagues and I planned the conference, we decided we didn't want to publish a booklet that would collect dust on the shelves," said Packham. "Our decision to experiment a little turned into what we have today -- a beautiful 266-page interactive digital book that is accessible to nearly anyone, anywhere, at any time. I am hopeful this format can be used for future proceedings and other academic inquiries."

In January 2012, Apple Inc. launched iBook Author, a free application that allows an individual to create and publish his or her own books for iPad. Utilizing iBook Author's multimedia functionality, Williams and her colleagues at UTSA Libraries incorporated video, mathematical expressions and interactive diagrams into the pages of the Torus Workshop 2012 e-book to accompany full-text articles by the conference scholars.

"As soon as iBook Author was released to the public, I downloaded it to test it out," said Williams, who specializes in taking traditional classroom content and transforming it into online tutorials that combine text, graphics, videos, animation and quizzes in her role as an instructional designer at UTSA. "When Professor Packham came to us with his vision, we were excited to jump on the opportunity to explore the process while also ensuring the content is available for generations to come."

"The UTSA Libraries are pleased to partner on a project that highlights the essential role of preserving scholarly records and ensuring access to all," said Posie Aagaard, assistant dean for collections and curriculum support.