A few weeks ago I came across Kevin Macleod‘s website, incompetech, where he has created a series of free graph and notepaper generators for making all sorts of useful and intriguing designs. We’ve combined a small selection of his page designs into Diffusion eBooks as examples of how we can further extend the Shareable Notebook range, and offer custom and personalised eNotebooks for different purposes.
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).
Proboscis is proud to announce our first ‘StoryBox’ of digitally printed and die-cut StoryCubes: an 8 cube set printed on both sides which enables people to explore Proboscis, our projects, themes and ideas in three dimensions.
This is the first of a number of StoryBoxes which we will be publishing in the next year. Future ones include creative works by sound artist, Loren Chasse; a special set on our Snout project; a 27 cube set about Social Tapestries and a new edition of the Gordon Pask cubes, first shown last year in the Maverick Machines exhibition, Edinburgh.
Custom Printed StoryCubes Proboscis is now offering a service to design and manufacture custom printed StoryCubes – e.g. for marketing campaigns or communication projects – for single or double-sided cubes with as many different StoryCube designs as you like.
Please contact us for pricing at sales(at)proboscis.org.uk
A set of 7 StoryCubes created for Survey Sampling International Ltd as marketing tools for their offices in the UK, France, Spain, Holland, Germany and Scandinavia.
On Friday 30th November, an informal evaluation of the Diffusion Generator Case Study Residency programme took place at the Proboscis studio. Those who participated included Bev Carter, artist and community development consultant; Paul Goodwin, a writer, curator and urban researcher; Andrew Hunter, artist, writer and the Director/Curator of RENDER, University of Waterloo, Canada; Michelle Kasprzak, curator, writer, artist and the Programmes Director of New Media Scotland and finally Tony White, a writer – author of novels including Foxy-T (Faber and Faber), and the non-fiction work Another Fool in the Balkans (Cadogan). They were hosted by Karen Martin who facilitated the residency programme, Phil Ayres, an architect, programmer and lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture (programmer of the Generator), Giles Lane, Alice Angus, Orlagh Woods from Proboscis.
The day began with an informal look at the different approaches and processes taken by each of the participants in the residency programme, exploring and sharing how they each used the Diffusion Generator to create and publish eBooks (as well as the occasional StoryCube). These included two way communications between children in the UK and Nigeria, a way to collate research for a book creatively, as a means to document an exhibition and research programme, as a visual journey through the city, as a series of interviews with curators and as a storytelling device.
In the afternoon, several other people were invited to take part in a larger discussion to explore other ways the Generator could be used. Among our guests were Linda Doyle of Trinity College Dublin, Michael Bhaskar of Pan Macmillan, Ellie Smith and Charles Beckett of Arts Council England, London.
Some of the various ideas for future uses of the Shareables and Generator included:
as an evaluation tool for conferences or events
within galleries or museums as interpretation tools
for community engagement projects
for internal marketing within organisations
as a brand consulting tool
to collect conversations and feedback dialogues
for a short story competition
to promote emerging writers alongside mainstream first publications
for sampling ideas
for rapid publishing of poetry slams
and as educational tools
A more detailed evaluation will be published as an eBook in the new year.
In addition to using the Diffusion eBook format to publish essays and artists books, Proboscis has also been using it to create notebooks for specific activities and projects. The eBook format allows us to design and distribute a notebook that participants in a project or workshop can fill in by hand (writing, drawing or adding stickers as they wish) which can then be scanned and turned back into a PDF file for sharing – either within the group or more widely. This ‘virtuous circle’ moving from digital to material to digital is at the core of the ‘Shareables’ concept. We have designed the Shareables so that they can be used without always needing a computer, but still providing a path for capturing and sharing digitally.
Proboscis has successfully used ‘eNotebooks‘ in our schools projects as learning diaries (e.g. Sound Scavenging, Everyday Archaeology and Experiencing Democracy) and, in our community projects as a simple means of gathering local knowledge and information (e.g. Robotic Feral Public Authoring, St. Marks and Conversations and Connections).
The eNotebooks have been very effective for the schoolchildren participating in our projects, giving them a single place to record and reflect on what they have learned from the different activities and how they are integrated into everyday learning. Over the three years we have collaborated with the Jenny Hammond Primary school on Social Tapestries projects, we have worked ever more closely with the teachers to use the learning diaries to make the bridge between the activities of the workshop and what the children are learning as part of everyday school. The diaries themselves are also an invaluable tool for the teachers and us to gauge each child’s engagement with the project and its concepts – some children choose to do the minimum whilst others spend considerable time and effort embellishing their drawings and writings. This serves an additional function in helping to assess the impact on learning that the workshop has had – the diaries show how the children are absorbing new ideas, vocabulary and improving their spelling as the project progresses.
We have also used the eNotebooks in community-based projects and workshops to record knowledge about places and communities. The eNotebooks offer a familiar ‘interface’ and technology (paper and pens) that is very inclusive and engaging – allowing people to write, draw or stick photos into them. In communities and situations where access to computers and broadband internet was not possible the eNotebooks allowed us to design a simple and effective means of asking open (but targeted) questions and enabling people to complete them there and then or post them back to us at their leisure. We see many other possible uses of this kind of eNotebook for researchers in the field doing ethnographic or anthropological studies.
We have also speculated on using the Diffusion Generator in brainstorming activities, where the eBooks are used to create iterations or snapshots of the process in situ. This would both provide an immediate outcome to the activity, but also document the creative processes along the way.
Proboscis has begun to experiment with creating structured notebooks for people to give feedback and evaluation on an event (such as a conference or workshop) or project. The StoryCubes have also been used in this way – at the Enter Festival in Cambridge (April 2007) conference delgates helped create a landscape of ideas, images and themes relating to the event. Futurelab also used the StoryCubes to engage delegates at their Why Don’t You… conference (October 2007) in mapping and exploring ideas relating to new education practices and uses of innovative technologies in schools and learning. Proboscis also uses the StoryCubes as a notetaking tool (instead of taking minutes) for its own advisory group meetings, enabling us to combine the questions and observations that the group members note down in an ever-growing and evolving landscape.
One of our key aims for Diffusion is to explore its uses in places (such as developing countries) with poor access to publishing technologies (both traditional print and electronic). A Diffusion eBook can, of course, be made with nothing more than some blank sheets of paper which can then be written and drawn on – or even have sections of typwritten text pasted onto them. Once made, these unique handmade books can be scanned and turned into Shareable eBooks (PDF files), endlessly reproducible and distributable through email and web downloads.
Examples: we plan to make some illustrative examples available soon
Diffusion is a library of Shareables (eBooks & StoryCubes) – playful hybrid digital/material publications combining the tactile pleasures of tangible objects with the ease of sharing via digital media. Since 2000 Proboscis has been commissioning and facilitating new publications which are posted on this site.
Samizdat for the digital age
DIFFUSION Shareables are paper eBooks and StoryCubes that are free to download, print and make up. They can be shared freely (by email, post, photocopy etc) at next to no cost to readers. Since 2000 Proboscis has commissioned and published hundreds of eBooks, as well as developing bookleteer – an online application for creating eBooks and StoryCubes without needing graphic design skills or access to professional DTP. Design schematics for the eBooks are available to download welcoming anyone, anywhere to adopt or re-interpret the format for their own uses. In 2011 we added the ability for new eBooks made with bookleteer to be read online with the bookreader.
Using the internet as the primary distribution mechanism, DIFFUSION Shareables are accessible to people across the world, including places that it would not be economical, or physically possible, to distribute traditional publications to. You can share the eBooks and StoryCubes electronically or as material objects – scan, email, post or photocopy them. DIFFUSION creates a hybrid of analogue and digital media, utilising the unparalleled reach of the internet with the pleasure of tactile forms.
What is a DIFFUSION eBook?
DIFFUSION eBooks are shareable paper books that are free to download, print and make up (in A4 and US Letter PDF formats). Distributed primarily via the internet, DIFFUSION eBooks are accessible to people across the world, especially where it would not be economical, or physically possible, to distribute traditional books. eBooks can be shared electronically or as material objects – scanned, photocopied, emailed or posted. The eBooks bridge analogue and digital media by taking the reader away from the computer screen and engaging them with the handmade.
What are StoryCubes?
StoryCubes are a tactile thinking and storytelling tool for exploring relationships and narratives. Each face of the cube can illustrate or describe an idea, a thing or an action, placed together it is possible to build up multiple narratives or explore the relationships between them in a novel three-dimensional way. StoryCubes can be folded in two different ways, giving each cube twelve possible faces – and thus two different ways of telling a story, two musings around an idea. Like books turned inside out and upside down they are read by turning and twisting in your hand and combining in vertical and horizontal constructions.
What is bookleteer? bookleteer is an online application for creating DIFFUSION eBooks and StoryCubes. It was created by Proboscis to enable people make their own eBooks and StoryCubes without needing graphic design skills or access to professional desktop publishing software.
What would using it help me do?
bookleteer enables people all over the world to publish and share their knowledge, stories and ideas without the cost of traditional print publishing, or where there aren’t enough computers for everyone to be able to access electronic media. Here are some ideas:
publishing essays, short stories or poems
creating simple, easy to distribute manuals and instructions
making gallery and museum guides and workbooks
creating lesson plans, lecture notes and learning diaries for students in schools, colleges and universities
creating a 3D cube or eBook family picture album
creating a visual record of a journey
making a personal diary or journal
creating a mini-portfolio for artworks, photos etc
notebooks & diaries for fieldwork (e.g. for anthropology or ethnography)
local newsletters or pamphlets
to document and evaluate brainstorming & innovation workshops, events and conferences
Who created DIFFUSION?
DIFFUSION and bookleteer are brought to you by Proboscis. The DIFFUSION eBook format was conceived by Giles Lane and designed by Paul Farrington (Studio Tonne). The StoryCubes were created and developed by Alice Angus and Giles Lane.
How is DIFFUSION paid for?
Proboscis supports DIFFUSION through fundraising, sales of StoryCube packs and from donations.
How Can I support Diffusion?
Proboscis has created opportunities to support Diffusion through donations,social investing and sponsorship. Please visit our Support section to find out more.
If you’d like to support DIFFUSION, bookleteer or get involved please contact us. You can make a small donation (such as £5 or £10) to support Diffusion by clicking on the Paypal Donate button in the right hand menu.
You may prefer to support us by purchasing a pack of StoryCubes to make your own story landscapes with – for storytelling projects, workshops, education or evaluation activities.
Can I buy StoryCubes to print my own stickers on?
Yes, Proboscis sells packs of pre-cut and scored StoryCubes with blank stickers to write, draw or print on. Prices start at £5.99 for a pack of 8 StoryCubes. Visit our WebStore to see what’s available.