playful cubes for storytelling, brainstorming ideas or playing games in three dimensions

Community & Events

Diffusion engaging with the community, online and out in the world.


an ongoing programme enabling residents at Proboscis studio to create eBooks and StoryCubes for their own projects.

Learning, Schools & Education

eBooks & StoryCubes created for learning and educational purposes


Browse the collection of Diffusion Shareables: eBooks & StoryCubes

Publishing on Demand

Home » Publishing on Demand
A New Chapter for Diffusion
Submitted by on October 15, 2012 – 5:44 pm2 Comments

Its been 12 years since we published Performance Notations, the first series of Diffusion eBooks, and launched our unique publishing format on an unsuspecting world. In that time, we have commissioned and facilitated hundreds of original eBooks and StoryCubes by an incredibly diverse range of people from all kinds of disciplines and backgrounds. In that time we also began to evolve our own free and online software platform for people without professional design skills to be able to create their own eBooks and StoryCubes. Our first proof of concept prototype was made in the summer of 2003. We then spent a few years building a fully working version – the Diffusion Generator – which was online between 2006 and 2009. In September 2009 we launched bookleteer, a whole new set of ways for making and sharing eBooks and StoryCubes.

A New Place for Future eBooks & StoryCubes
This summer we made a series of technical changes to bookleteer that allow users to share their own publications directly with others via a Public Library. Each user has their own personal profile page listing all their shared publications (for instance, here’s mine) and each publication has its page listing both the downloadable PDFs and the bookreader online version (for example, see Material Conditions: Epilogue). We have further exciting developments in the pipeline too.

To continue our long tradition of commissioning and publishing new work, we have created a new Curated by Proboscis library which will, from now on, be where all new commissions and featured eBooks and StoryCubes will be listed. This website (the Diffusion Library) will remain online indefinitely as an archive of more than 12 years of pushing the boundaries of what we think of as publishing and creative practice.

As part of these changes we are also launching a new monthly publication – the Periodical – which will select, print and send out to subscribers some of the most exciting, experimental, imaginative and insipring eBooks created and shared on bookleteer. Anyone can take part – just sign up, make and share something on bookleteer. Each month we’ll pick one eBook to print and send out. We are also devising special projects, like Field Work, that will enable people to participate in other ways. And we are developing partnerships and collaborations to commission new series that will also be distributed as part of the Periodical’s monthly issues.

Subscribe to the Periodical and get bookleteering!

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  • Alva
    I actually had to discuss this specific post, “Diffusion” smallgig. com with my own pals on facebook itself. I…
    Comment posted on 3-1-2013 at 21:29
    “Diffusion” was genuinely compelling and useful! In the present day universe that is very hard to achieve. Many…
    Comment posted on 1-11-2013 at 16:54

Home » Publishing on Demand
10 Years of Diffusion
Submitted by on September 17, 2010 – 1:10 pm4 Comments

10 years ago this month we published the very first series of Diffusion eBooks, Performance Notations, launching our particular brand of hand-made hybrid digital/paper publishing on an unsuspecting public. Over the past decade we have followed that series with several others of our own (and a few by partners and collaborators) such as : Species of Spaces, Liquid Geography, CODE, Short Work, Topographies and Tales & Transformations and published well over 400 eBooks (and nearly 200 StoryCubes too). In 2002 we published the design schematics allowing others to create their own Diffusion eBooks (with recent updates for all 4 design variations and right-to-left reading too) and followed that in 2006 with the first version of our online web application for creating eBooks & StoryCubes, the Diffusion Generator. Hundreds of eBooks and StoryCubes were created (not all published here) by its users over a two and a half-year period. For a more in depth history of Diffusion read this post from 2007.

In 2008 we won a small grant from the Technology Strategy Board to build a new prototype service that would be vastly more powerful and flexible than the old Generator – what eventually became The alpha version was launched at the end of September 2009 and we now have several hundred users who have created almost one thousand eBooks and StoryCubes with it during its first year, including some in languages such as Arabic and Hindi. In the past 6 months we’ve rolled out lots of new features, such as new sizes, customisable front covers and our exclusive Publish & Print On Demand service. We have also created a crowdfunding scheme for collaborators, partners and friends to support bookleteer’s technical development, Alpha Club. We’ve run a series of events, Pitch Up & Publish, introducing bookleteer to new users – both in our own studio in Clerkenwell and around the country with the Empty Shops Network.

To kick-off Diffusion’s next decade we’re devising a new series of events, Pitch In & Publish, and adopting a new model of participatory publishing for our curated series. Rather than selecting individuals to create eBooks as we have done for previous series we will host events where people can collaborate in designing and creating a series of publications with others. Proboscis will define the series theme and individual topics for each issue, which will be put together during a one-day event. We will be publishing the collaborative publications (which could be an eBook or a series of StoryCubes) on this site and we will be inviting the participants to use bookleteer to create their own personal contributions to the series. A limited edition run of the publication will be printed using the PPOD service for participants. Pitch In & Publish will launch in October 2010 with the first series, City As Material. Topics will include: river, streetscapes, skyline and underside.

Details on dates, guests, topics and how to participate –

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Home » eBooks, eNotebooks, One-Off Shareables, Publishing on Demand
eBook Observer by Frederik Lesage
Submitted by on April 12, 2010 – 10:38 am2 Comments

Download A4 | US Letter PDF 400Kb

About : An eNotebook for gathering user experiences and uses of for an ongoing investigation into its application and potential.

This eNotebook is designed to collect feedback from anyone who has either used Diffusion eNotebooks/eBooks or

Please print out the eNotebook, fill in the questions and return to Proboscis – either by post or by scanning and emailing the completed eBook to us.

Published April 2010

Frederik Lesage is a Teaching Fellow at Kings College London in the Centre for Culture, Media and Creative Industries and LSE Fellow at the Media and Communications department of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

*** made with ***

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Home » Publishing on Demand
bookleteer Print On Demand arrives!
Submitted by on March 29, 2010 – 3:58 pmNo Comment

Our first batch of bookleteer POD eBooks arrived and we’re very, very pleased with the results:

We’ll be sending out some samples to friends, colleagues and bookleteers, meanwhile we will start accepting orders for POD eBooks & StoryCubes from April 12th. For more information on bookleteer’s POD service please visit the bookleteer blog.

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Home » Community Projects, One-Off Shareables, Publishing on Demand, StoryCubes
Birmingham Total Place StoryCubes by Proboscis
Submitted by on February 18, 2010 – 9:00 amNo Comment

Conference Question Cube A4 only PDF 260Kb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 1 A4 only PDF 2Mb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 2 A4 only PDF 2Mb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 3 A4 only PDF 2Mb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 4 A4 only PDF 2Mb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 5 A4 only PDF 2Mb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 6 A4 only PDF 2Mb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 7 A4 only PDF 2Mb
Total Place Early Intervention Set Cube 8 A4 only PDF 2Mb

About : A series of StoryCubes created by Alice Angus and Orlagh Woods of Proboscis, specially commissioned for the Early Intervention strand of Birmingham Total Place, including a set of 8 designed to bring the everyday voices of families, parents and carers into the BTP conference, and a StoryCube designed to elicit responses from the conference participants.

Published February 2010

Alice Angus, co-director of Proboscis, is an artist inspired by rethinking concepts and perceptions of landscape and human relationships to the land. Over the last six years she has been creating a body of art work exploring concepts proximity and remoteness, technology and presence, against the lived experience and local knowledge of a place. In 2003, Alice was the only non-Canadian to participate in the first Artist in the Park residency in Ivvavik National Park in the Northern Yukon, organised by Parks Canada.

Orlagh Woods is an artist whose work explores how diverse people and communities engage with each other and their environment – how they connect, communicate and are perceived both through digital and non-digital means. She has been working with Proboscis since 2004 and also curates a professional development programme for British Asian theatre company, Tamasha, in London.

*** made with ***

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Home » Community & Events, Publishing on Demand
Happy 2010
Submitted by on January 8, 2010 – 3:59 pmNo Comment

Proboscis wishes a happy and productive 2010 to all our Diffusion readers and contributors.

This year we’re hoping to take Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes to new heights with and some exciting new services we’ll be announcing in the Spring.

Meanwhile we’ve just published a case study by Kati Rynne on using bookleteer as a creative writer over on the bookleteer blog and yesterday we heard from Thomas Mailloux in France via Twitter that he’s created a library exploration field notebook for his students. We’d love to hear from other users of the Diffusion notebooks (and bookleteer) about what they use them for too.

If you’d like to use to create your own Diffusion eBooks and StoryCubes please write to us at bookleteer [at] for a test account.

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Home » Community & Events, Events, Publishing on Demand
Pitch Up & Publish 1 Slideshow
Submitted by on October 21, 2009 – 6:41 pmNo Comment

The first event was a fun evening and everyone who attended created at least 1 eBook each, with the exception of Matthew who managed to create two lovely examples. Thanks to everyone who came (Christopher, Fred, Kati, Matthew & Sara), and the team (Karen, John & Stefan).

The next Pitch Up & Publish will be on Thursday 5th November 2009 at our studio in Clerkenwell.

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Home » Community & Events, Publishing on Demand
bookleteer Alpha Club
Submitted by on October 21, 2009 – 9:29 amNo Comment

As part of our thinking into new business and revenue models for our own projects and practices, we’ve come up with a different approach for supporting the next stage development of bookleteer to relying on grants.

To progress bookleteer to a public ‘beta’ version in early 2010 – we’re looking for friends and supporters (initially organisations but also individuals) to join bookleteer’s Alpha Club. The club is an alternative support/fundraising concept, aimed at partners, friends, colleagues and sponsors who share in our ethos of ‘public authoring’, providing public access to tools of creation, production and distribution and who, as members of the Alpha Club, would like to be at the core of the emerging bookleteer community. For a modest, one-off contribution we hope Alpha Club members will help us raise our target of around £25k for the next critical phase of bookleteer’s development.

Membership of the Alpha Club will be exclusive to those who join during the ‘alpha’ stage of bookleteer’s development, establishing a founder group of friends, supporters and sponsors.

Benefits include:

  • Up to 5 bookleteer accounts per member & technical support;
  • access to the bookleteer APIs to experiment with;
  • a private pitch up & publish style training session at our studio
  • a free copy of Proboscis’ bookwork, Social Tapestries: A Case of Perspectives (RRP £40)
  • Inclusion (if desired) on the Alpha Club’s ‘Roll of Honour’ webpage

If you’d like to support bookleteer and become an Alpha Club member, please contact us at bookleteer (at) or donate now via Paypal:

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Home » Publishing on Demand, StoryCubes
Custom printed StoryCubes with bookleteer
Submitted by on October 9, 2009 – 3:15 pm2 Comments


Not all StoryCubes are published just on Diffusion – some are printed on card and distributed as physical objects. We’ve printed a StoryBox of 8 cubes about Proboscis’ projects, a special illustrated set by Australian comic artist Matt Huynh and our own set about Under-Used Assets for Perception Peterborough as well as one off cubes for projects like DodoLab Montreal and Social Tapestries.

Now with bookleteer it has become even easier not only to create beautiful StoryCubes, but to have them printed as physical objects too. Last week we produced a stunning example for Birkbeck College’s In the Shadow of Senate House – from design to delivery in a week. Alongside these were two special cubes made as a promotional items for some up and coming bands, as well as limited editions of StoryCubes commissioned as part of our Transformations series.

The arrival of bookleteer makes it extraordinarily easy to create single or double sided StoryCubes for creative projects, marketing campaigns, games and events. Prices start at 87 pence per cube (plus set up, delivery & VAT) with a minimum order of 250 – not necessarily one design : a single order could be 1 each of 250 different cubes, or 50 copies of 5 cubes, or in fact any combination of copies and designs (i.e. there’s no need to order even quantities of each design).

If you’d like to know more or want to try something out please get in touch with us at sales at

2 comments - Latest by:
  • andy
    ordinary mortals a chance to buy the same sort of gear that celebrities wear!
    Comment posted on 10-7-2010 at 11:25
  • more interface updating
    [...] and testing the back end for a new print on demand capability for eBooks (similar to that which we…
    Comment posted on 1-30-2010 at 11:32

Home » Community & Events, Events, Publishing on Demand
Pitch Up & Publish
Submitted by on September 21, 2009 – 12:41 pm4 Comments

Starting in October we will be running regular informal evening workshops for people to literally pitch up and publish using Initially these will be held at our Clerkenwell Studio for up to 15 participants – all you need is a laptop and some content (text /photos/ drawings etc) you’d like to create and share as eBooks or StoryCubes (shareables). We will provide free user accounts to bookleteer and guide you through the steps of preparing and generating your shareables to share online, via email or as physical publications. Once created you can publish them on your own website or, if appropriate, we can publish them on Diffusion.

The first workshop will be held during the week beginning October 12th 2009 (date tbc) between 6.30-9pm.
To reserve a place please email us at diffusion (at)
Participants will be asked to make small donation to cover materials and refreshments.

Click to continue reading “Pitch Up & Publish”

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Home » Publishing on Demand, Residencies
Stewart Home – Diffusion Residency, Nov 2008-March 2009
Submitted by on September 8, 2009 – 3:53 pmOne Comment

3929220329_5f1bea67df_oWith the residency I was looking for ways to expand my use of Web 2.0. The eBook Generator provides a useful format in which to distribute essays to those who prefer not to read longer pieces online. Therefore I was looking to integrate producing eBooks with my activities on social networking sites such as Facebook, while simultaneously drawing some of the audience that exists for the eBooks as a project in itself towards my own online activities.

My approach to this was to produce material that I felt would be of interest to my audience both on social networking sites and beyond them covering new(ish) material on subjects I’ve had a long interest in, including the London art world and psychedelic drugs. However, I adapted my material after discussion of the eBook project with Giles Lane. Giles not only showed me how to use the Generator, we also had several long conversations about building an audience for this project and how what I was doing might fit into this.

Taking part in this process reinforced my view that it is possible, if sometimes difficult, to move an audience from one web based content delivery platform to another. Sometimes this is a matter of moving with shifts in web usage. I moved to Facebook ahead of much of the audience I’d previously built on MySpace – but as the shift from the latter social network to the former built, most of my old audience followed me. Getting people using Facebook to download from the eBook Generator or to look at material on other social networks such as YouTube is not as difficult to get them to look at traditional websites. However, the overall lesson was, as ever, persistence pays off. Rather than changing the way I worked, this reinforced my view that I’d been using the internet in an intelligent manner.

In the future I’d be interested in looking at ways in which I might use the Generator to develop my work as a novelist. It would be interesting to create a serial style novel to be delivered chapter by chapter via the Generator. This would, however, be a major commitment and in my view would require some extra funding to promote it in order to reach a large enough audience for the amount of effort involved to be worthwhile.

I found Giles and his team very productive to work with, but also great fun – and I enjoyed my free ranging lunch break conversations every bit as much as the actual work!

Stewart Home
September 2009

The eBooks
Dope smuggling, LSD, organised crime & the law in 1960s London
On The Death Of Julia Callan-Thompson
Bourriaud’s ‘Altermodern’ – an eclectic mix of bullshit and bad taste
Click This? MySpace & the Pornography of Corporately Controlled Virtual Life
Negotiating the Level 2 Project Space at Tate Modern
Very Naughty English Lady
Cunt Lickers Anonymous
A Journey To The Far Side Of Solipsism

1 comment - Latest by:
  • Paul
    This is a great blog, recommended it to friends on facebook
    Comment posted on 5-8-2011 at 18:48

Home » Publishing on Demand
Submitted by on September 3, 2009 – 6:24 pmNo Comment


Proboscis is very excited to announce – our forthcoming service for creating eBooks and StoryCubes which uses the latest version of the Diffusion Generator. We are planning a private beta test of the service in early October, with a public version launching in 2010.

Bookleteer will allow individuals and organisations to create personalised eBooks and StoryCubes under their own identity (the front covers of Bookleteer-made eBooks can contain a logo image) and with a cover image to make each publication more distinctive and recognisable. Bookleteer supports all 4 types of eBooks (classic/book ; portrait/landscape) as well as single and double-sided StoryCubes. It will additionally support eBooks created in many other languages and non-Roman alphabets (Hindi, Chinese, Greek, Russian etc) and will enable Right-to-Left eBooks to be created for Right-to-Left languages (Arabic, Urdu etc).

Diffusion eBooks new designs

We’ll be developing some pilot projects over the next 6 months to demonstrate Bookleteer’s uses and capabilities, especially around its new API which will allow other websites and systems to call its services to generate eBooks and StoryCubes from external content and datasets.

We’ll be posting regular progress updates on Twitter as well as here.

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Home » Publishing on Demand
Your feedback and reviews
Submitted by on May 21, 2009 – 7:08 pmNo Comment

We’d like to get more feedback and reviews from people who download the eBooks and StoryCubes on what they think of them (both the formats and the individual titles) –

  • what do you use them for (personal reading/set texts for students/research/inspiration/gifts etc)?
  • how would you review a particular eBook or StoryCube?
  • do you design your own eBooks using, or inspired, by our schematics?
  • would you like to create your own eBooks or StoryCubes using the new Diffusion Generator?
  • what kinds of eBooks/StoryCubes would you like to see us commissioning?
  • how can we make this site and the library better, easier to browse, more accessible?

Please feel free to reply using the Reviews/Comments section of this post or a specific eBook/StoryCube you want to comment on. Thanks.

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Home » Publishing on Demand
Now in Translation
Submitted by on May 21, 2009 – 6:56 pmOne Comment

We’ve just added a Translation plugin to Diffusion (in bottom bar) which offers a Google Translation of the site in over 40 languages.

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Home » Publishing on Demand
Diffusion Generator: latest news (May 09)
Submitted by on May 19, 2009 – 7:07 pmNo Comment

Last month we completed our Feasibility Study for the Technology Strategy Board to investigate the potential for third parties to use Diffusion Generator to create and publish eBooks and StoryCubes via an API. As part of this process we developed a completely new platform for the Generator which makes it much more flexible – the prototype now includes numerous new features:

  • creation of portrait and landscape eBooks
  • use of both ‘classic’ andbook‘ binding methods for eBooks (see our design schematics)
  • creation of single and double sided StoryCubes
  • offline content design ability for eBooks & StoryCubes (via PDF upload)
  • ability to flow HTML content into eBooks & StoryCubes
  • Unicode support for non-Roman typefaces for languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, Aramaic and many others
  • eBook templates supporting right-to-left languages (e.g. Arabic)
  • support for personalised/branded eBook & StoryCube templates
  • support for future shareable designs to be incorporated into Generator

We have been testing the system since late March and shortly will publish some eBooks created recently using the new Generator to demonstrate some of the new formats (e.g. landscape and ‘book’ binding options). Meanwhile we are fundraising for the next stage of development to build a web interface for individual access, as well as some demonstrator projects with 3rd party partners (a museum, a university, a data aggregation platform, a visitor attraction centre) exploring how institutions might use the Generator to offer “tangible souvenirs” of digital experiences.

The “tangible souvenir” concept has been developed by Proboscis over the last couple of years based on our own experiences of creating projects that engage people with digital technologies (e.g. Urban Tapestries, Snout, Feral Robots etc) but which require digital technologies (e.g. a web browser) to review. We frequently find that people want to refer back to an experience with others but are often in a place (the pub, a cafe, over the dinner table etc) where they don’t have access to a suitable screen or fast web connection for showing what they experienced. The idea behind “tangible souvenirs” is simply to create physical outputs culled from digital assets created or engaged with during a ‘digital’ experience (such as using an interactive museum guide). A personalised eBook or StoryCube is then provided which can be kept in a pocket, passed around, given away and re-created as often as the person likes.

More updates next month…

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Home » eBooks, eNotebooks, Publishing on Demand
Diffusion Shareable Notebooks
Submitted by on January 21, 2009 – 2:36 pmNo Comment

Diffusion Notebooks

Portrait Versions
Multipurpose classic A4 | US Letter PDF 800Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 800Kb
Blank classic A4 | US Letter PDF 144Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 144Kb
Graph classic A4 | US Letter PDF 720Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 720Kb
Lined classic A4 | US Letter PDF 650Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 650Kb
Squared classic A4 | US Letter PDF 660Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 660Kb
Music classic A4 | US Letter PDF 650Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 650Kb
Storyboard classic A4 | US Letter PDF 150Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 150Kb

Landscape Versions
Multipurpose classic A4US Letter PDF 560Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 560Kb
Blank classic A4US Letter PDF 144Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 144Kb
Graph classic A4US Letter PDF 220Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 220Kb
Lined classic A4US Letter PDF 650Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 650Kb
Squared classic A4US Letter PDF 660Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 660Kb
Music classic A4US Letter PDF 650Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 650Kb
Storyboard classic A4US Letter PDF 150Kb | book A4US Letter PDF 150Kb

About : Inspired by the enthusiasm for Paper/Digital Hybrids at the recent PaperCamp in London, we have prepared a range of Diffusion Notebooks. Proboscis has designed custom Diffusion eNotebooks for many of our own projects going back five or more years, however we’d not created generic ones that could be used off the cuff. This selection of Notebooks is based on some simple notepaper designs that we like to use: blank and lined pages, graphs and squares. Each Notebook is made up of 4 sheets of paper with 14 pages for you to use. The Multipurpose Notebook combines five types on 7 sheets (26 pages). Print them out using different paper stocks and colours for different effects. Once you’ve filled them up, take them apart, scan the pages and you’ve got an instant digital shareable notebook.

Customisations : We are happy to design customised variations of these Notebooks (with more pages, additional page designs or various combinations of the ones used here). Please add your suggestions to the comments section below and we’ll endeavour to oblige. We are also happy to take on design commissions to create Notebooks for exhibitions, conferences or other activities.

Update : two new variations have been added – music staves and storyboards.

Update (22/5/09): the notebooks have been completely re-created using our new Diffusion Generator and now include landscape as well as portrait options and both Diffusion eBook bindings (book and classic).

Published January 2009

Designed by Giles Lane for Proboscis

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Home » Publishing on Demand
Generator developments
Submitted by on January 16, 2009 – 3:34 pmNo Comment

In Autumn 2008 Proboscis won a Feasibility Study grant from the Technology Strategy Board to investigate the potential for third party sites to add access to our Diffusion Generator online software to their systems, enabling their own users to be able to create and publish eBooks and StoryCubes directly from their sites. Over the next couple of months we will be developing a re-engineered prototype of the Generator designed to allow 3rd parties to hook into it through an open API (Application Programming Interface) and offer their own users eBook and StoryCube creation. 

As the popularity of Diffusion grows – we have now passed an average of 110,000 downloads per year – Proboscis needs to develop sustainable revenue streams (e.g. from licensing the API to 3rd parties) to keep Diffusion going, and to create successful and meaningful partnerships with potential users (museums, galleries, universities, companies etc) who wish to add this unique publishing system to their own sites. The feasibility study and the re-engineered Generator will enable us to model these potential revenue streams and demonstrate a functioning service to other potential partners.

Later this year we aim to unveil the new Diffusion Generator and welcome expressions of interest from organisations and institutions who would like to test the API. I’ll be at BookCamp on January 17th and would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in working with us.

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Home » Publishing on Demand, Transformations
Submitted by on November 21, 2008 – 4:08 pmNo Comment

why are we who we are?  what do we want to become?

Transformations is the latest series of Diffusion commissions curated by Proboscis. Proboscis is commissioning a diverse range of writers, artists, performers, thinkers and makers to respond to two questions from different perspectives, why are we who we are? and, what do we want to become?

As we get into the swing of the 21st Century our notions of identity, personal and societal, are subject to new arrays of emerging pressures and responsibilities. Our aspirations for change and growth are being re-thought as we grapple with the growing awareness of environmental changes which may already be beyond our control. How have we reached this point? Where do we go from here?

Transformations seeks to address these fluid notions of identity and aspiration by commissioning works that subtly reflect on individual identities, urban identity and pharmaceutical, biological and technological interventions. Over the next few years we will be inviting selected contributors to add their voices into this mix – through essays and artists books (eBooks) as well as in three dimensions (StoryCubes).

Add Your Voice
For the first time we are experimenting with a new approach to selecting works for this series – publishing as a conversation. Readers are invited to submit their own proposals for the series (through the comments section of this site) – we will provide accounts for the Diffusion Generator (soon to be re-launched as Bookleteer) for readers to become authors and create their own eBooks or StoryCubes,  the best of which we will publish as contributions to the series. We are not asking for quick responses, but for measured and considered contributions to the series – putting an eBook or a set of StoryCubes together is significant creative act. Get in touch if you are inspired by the works we have selected and published so far and have a proposal for a work of your own.

The Contributions

Sponsorship Opportunity
We are seeking a sponsor for Transformations who shares our ethos of collaboration, public authoring and creating cultures of listening. Please contact us for more information.

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Home » Publishing on Demand
Improving the Library
Submitted by on April 30, 2008 – 10:52 pmNo Comment

We’ve added a new feature to the Diffusion Library: browse by author. Combined with the categories, tags, series and chronological list of eBooks and StoryCubes this should make the library even easier to use.

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Home » MyCake: Money Matters, Publishing on Demand
MyCake: Money Matters
Submitted by on April 21, 2008 – 5:11 pmNo Comment


MyCake provides an online book-keeping and benchmarking service specially designed to meet the needs of Creative Entrepreneurs. MyCake is a subscription based service whereby you receive 2 months free to test the service and see if it suits you and then subscribe at a cost of £10/month + VAT. 

In addition to the online services MyCake is producing a series of eBooks explaining key ideas and concepts in financial management which are intended to help Creative Entrepreneurs understand how to manage their money more effectively. The eBooks have been created in response to a needs analysis provided by MyCake’s users. Anyone can contribute to the needs analysis by completing this survey.

The series includes:

  • Planning for Success in 2008 (March 2008)
  • Banking & Accounting for Creative Entrepreneurs (April 2008)
  • Managing your cashflow (part 1)
  • Managing your cashflow (part 2)
  • How to price your time and your products
  • Planning for profitability
  • Budgetting for the year ahead
  • What’s a Cashflow Forecast?
  • Becoming more profitable
  • How can I grow & develop my business?
  • Business Models: what are they and how to I get one?
  • Managing stock using MyCake

Sarah Thelwall
April 2008 



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Home » Publishing on Demand
More Printing Experiments
Submitted by on April 17, 2008 – 5:43 pmNo Comment

We’ve been experimenting over the last few weeks with yet more ways of personalising and customising the eBooks. Using a variety of papers and techniques of scanning and printing on top of other images we are building a library of highly personal copies of the eBooks – many of which we showed at the scissorspaperstone artists book fair on April 12th.

Diffusion Printing Experiments

eBooks2nd. 6.jpgeBooks

2nd. 4.jpgflickr images2nd. 5.jpg

eBooksflickr imageseBooks

eBooksflickr imageseBooks

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Home » Publishing on Demand
Diffusion Shareables Film
Submitted by on April 11, 2008 – 8:50 amOne Comment

1 comment - Latest by:
  • JoycMAjiski
    Hey yu guys I am at a friends place using his computor with most recent flash viewer and a…
    Comment posted on 4-27-2008 at 02:46

Home » Publishing on Demand, Short Work
Short Work
Submitted by on March 12, 2008 – 12:47 pmOne Comment

Short Work consists of public domain texts sourced from Project Gutenberg re-published as Diffusion eBooks. As the title suggests, each is a short work of fiction, poetry or prose intended to be enjoyed in those frequent moments of inbetween-ness that punctuate modern life. The initial selection includes works of satire, experimental writing and poetry chosen for their continuing power to affect the way we see the world.

The eBooks
William Blake – Songs of Innocence & Experience
Saki – Beasts and Super Beasts
Gertrude Stein – Tender Buttons
Jonathan Swift – A Modest Proposal
Samuel Johnson – Three Essays (chosen by Bill Thompson)
William Hogarth – The Rake’s Progress
William Hogarth – The Harlot’s Progress
William Hogarth – Industry & Idleness
Thomas Paine – Common Sense (chosen by Alex Steffen)

Update (13/04/2008) : We’ve invited several friends and collaborators to choose their own public domain texts to re-publish as Diffusion eBooks which we’ll be posting every month or so. Today we’ve added the first of these,  selected and introduced by technology critic and journalist Bill Thompson, who has chosen Three Essays by Samuel Johnson.

Update (05/05/2008) : Alex Steffen, editor of Worldchanging, has selected and introduced Common Sense by Thomas Paine.

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Programming Internship/Placement
Submitted by on March 7, 2008 – 5:47 pmOne Comment

Proboscis is offering a programming internship/placement for someone seeking experience in helping build a unique platform for public authoring and sharing. The Diffusion Generator, our prototype ‘publishing-on-demand’ platform for creating eBooks and StoryCubes, is entering its next stage of development: extending the current capabilities and opening it up to a much wider user group.

Proboscis particularly welcomes applicants from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for someone who is familiar with Python and has experience of developing cross-platform web applications. Experience of using the Zope development platform and Plone CMS is also highly desirable.

For how long?
An internship would be 2-3 days per week for 3 to 6 months, depending on your availability.

What about volunteers?
If you are interested in helping develop the Diffusion Generator but if an internship or placement isn’t suitable for you, please get in touch to discuss volunteering opportunities.

Internship Application
Please email, post, or fax the following:

  • An up to date CV
  • Covering letter explaining:
    – your interest in the internship;
    – what interests you about working for Proboscis;
    – what you can bring to the internship and,
    – what you hope to achieve from it.
  • 2 References

How to Contact Us
Email us at: interns(at)
Post: Proboscis, 1st Floor, 24 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4SX, UK
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7837 9344
Fax: +44 (0)7031 151 738

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Publishing as a conversation
Submitted by on March 6, 2008 – 12:53 pmNo Comment

One of the most transformational aspects of Diffusion as a platform for publishing-on-demand is our ability not only to commission and publish new writing and ideas, but to enable other people to participate by creating their own eBooks and StoryCubes through the Generator and have them included alongside commissioned authors; publishing as a conversation rather than a privileged monologue.

We have been interested since the late 1990s in utilising network technologies to create alternatives to the traditional ‘centre to the margins’ nature of the media; the broadcast and publishing model sustained since the 19th century and only beginning to be seriously challenged in the late 20th Century through the rise of the internet and its distributed network structure. We have been exploring how, through concepts like ‘public authoring’ and ‘cultures of listening’, we can create new ways for people to participate more widely in the creation of the cultures and societies they live in – such as in our Urban Tapestries project and Social Tapestries research programme, as well as our current Anarchaeology projects (with Render in Canada & ICE in Australia).

A key feature of future series of Diffusion commissions will be this conversational aspect – where we will be inviting the public to participate in the series by using the Diffusion Generator to create eBooks & StoryCubes of their own – the best and most relevant of which we will include in the series alongside the authors we commission directly. This will be different to the kinds of conversation that happen through blogging and commenting – creating an eBook or StoryCube is a much more considered affair, requiring time and reflection to create what is, after all, a publication that exists not only on the web but as a physical entity too.

The first of these ‘conversation series’ will be Transformations – we will be announcing the initial commissions in April and publishing the outcomes later in the year, inviting contributions from the public once the first 3 or 4 are available. Watch this space.

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Diffusion printing experiments
Submitted by on March 4, 2008 – 6:29 pmNo Comment

These are images illustrating some playful printing experiments we have been doing in the Proboscis studio with the diffusion eBooks.

After choosing a few of the published eBooks we have been printing these on a range of different papers such as colour papers, notebook sheets, black card, tracing paper… trying to enjoy the making up of the eBooks as a personal and playful experience.

Some of the outcomes show these transparent effects resulting from using tracing paper combined with colour paper. All papers have been previously printed with a big image on one side and the usual printing process on the other side; this gives the effect of illustration for a full text eBook.

Diffusion Printing Experiments

This is an example of cover and inside page of an eBook printed in a regular black and white process on black card combined with tracing paper already printed with a picture. This is just a way to relate the eBook content with the personal choice of paper and images.

Diffusion Printing ExperimentsDiffusion Printing Experiments

Similar process has been done in this one with blue and tracing paper for a narrative story.

Diffusion Printing Experiments

These experiments demonstrate how easy and fun it can be to personalize and customize the look and feel of diffusion eBooks through the choice of different kinds of papers to print on. It adds a further dimension to the handmade nature of the eBooks by showing how the incorporation of your own choice of images makes your individual copies unique.

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New How to Make Instructions
Submitted by on February 13, 2008 – 7:42 pmNo Comment

We’ve been working to improve both the illustration and instructions on How to Make Diffusion eBooks. The fruits of our efforts are now online and we welcome feedback from readers regarding their clarity or ways they could be made even better. The wonderful new illustrations have been created by Carmen Vela Maldonado who is currently on an internship with Proboscis.

How to Make a Diffusion eBook

Diffusion How To Make (A5 PDF 116Kb)

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Diffusion in 2008
Submitted by on February 8, 2008 – 6:25 pmNo Comment

This year Proboscis is planning to commission a new series of Diffusion Shareables, Transformations, and to run a further programme of case studies with both UK and international participants.

The theme of the new series is Transformations – we are planning to commission 10 new titles (both eBooks and StoryCubes) which reflect on the construction of identity: how and why we are who we are. What changes or transformations have we made to become who we are, or who we wished to be? The contributors have been asked to consider the theme from either a personal or a more societal point of view. We aim to announce the list of contributors in April.

This year’s case studies are also themed around two key areas: schools/education and museums, libraries and archives. Over the next few months we will begin inviting participants from professions engaged in these areas (teachers, librarians, archivists, curators etc) to explore with us how the Diffusion ethos and tools can be harnessed to deliver innovative benefits for their communities.

The international case studies will form a key part of our forthcoming Human Echoes programme to create and share bodies of knowledge across cultures, geographies and communities about different attitudes and practices of looking after our human and social ecologies – environmental stewardship. What impact can the collection and sharing of these knowledges have, especially by people in developing countries or indigenous communities who have previously had limited access to publishing and sharing technology? Can this point to next practices in developing local dialogues around sustainability in a global setting? How can the Diffusion ethos of public authoring, cultures of listening and its hybrid digital/material tools effectively contribute to greater dialogue and understanding between global communities?

We are seeking funders/sponsors and partners for these projects – do please get in touch if you would like to support Diffusion or collaborate on the projects.

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Re-organising the Diffusion Library
Submitted by on February 8, 2008 – 5:52 pmNo Comment

The Diffusion Library section has been re-organised to make it easier to browse for titles:

  • Each eBook series has its own library page
  • Links to the 10 most recent publications
  • A chronological list now links directly to every publication’s individual post

We hope these changes allow visitors to enjoy the full range of Diffusion titles more quickly and simply – do please send us your comments and suggestions.

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Anarchaeology at Render
Submitted by on January 23, 2008 – 2:50 amNo Comment

Anarchaeology blog

Proboscis and Render are currently running a mixed graduate/under-graduate studio and seminar course at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) based on our concept of Anarchaeology. Over the next 12 weeks the students will conduct individual and group investigations into the environment of the university, Kitchener-Waterloo and the local region and, through a series of assignments, build up a body of artefacts (StoryCubes, postcards, eBooks, podcasts) for exhibition. A course blog will act as a repository of research, fabricated artefacts and discussion.

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