In 2018, UC Press’ Erich van Rijn wrote a blog post called “The Editoria Story So Far.” Also in March 2018, he introduced me to you in a blog post. At that time ‘you’ were an unknown quantity, and so was I, having been hired to develop a community around the developing Editoria. We were strangers. Editoria has come quite a long way since then. Here’s a review of everything that’s happened. Right from the start, I’ve been quite proud of working with Editoria – all facets: the functionality, the supportive and very dedicated Coko team behind it, it’s visionary founders, it’s generous funders, and of course, all the hundreds of people I’d meet and chat about Editoria to: you.
March – April 2018 – Getting started
In March, I spent a week in San Francisco meeting the Coko team. This was also my first time meeting Coko founder Adam Hyde and the west coast team. We spent two solid days talking about what Coko is, and future plans; we also visited UC Press and CDL to meet key project stakeholders – including the team that produced the requirements to build Editoria in a previously completed collaborative design session. It was the perfect way to get started learning about Open Source, about Community, and about Editoria.
Next, we headed to Athens, Greece to meet with lovely colleagues on the development team. This includes Editoria’s lead developer Alexis, Editoria’s UI and book design guru Julien, as well as Giannis and Yannis. We spent two solid days sharing presentations related to our work, breaking out into focus groups (including one dedicated to Editoria), enjoying delicious coffees and fantastic Greek food.
May-June 2018 – Editoria goes live
Editoria’s key stakeholders came together via a live webinar which drew over 100 attendees! We discussed the vision, project goals, and shared an early view into the developing system with the world! The response made it clear: Coko was on to something fabulous. Next months were full of back to back demos, getting to know university presses and library publishers, and folks who are perhaps not in either category, but are passionate about publishing, open source, or both.
Editoria’s look and feel evolved via a fresh new website which was jam packed with useful content.
Editoria hit the road! I packed up my suitcase and seldom unpacked it long enough to bother putting it back in the closet – hitting all the meetings. This included its debut at AUP during a breakfast demonstration session. In addition to fielding excellent questions from a jam-packed room, we also learned, one does not present with (delicious smelling) breakfast in the room without first eating! We also attended our first Library Publishing Forum and presented Editoria there, to (delightfully) another standing room only crowd. There were more excellent questions. My inbox continued filling up with a steadier stream of demonstration requests, possibly in response to these meeting appearances, as well as those at CSE and SSP.
July – August 2018
That summer, Editoria was featured on a webinar to an influential group: the WWIN. We also began to plan the first ever Editoria Community meeting in earnest. We didn’t know at the outset how to make the event worthy of all of the amazing folks we were talking with and demoing for regularly. Still, we knew it had to be very special. Leveraging my colleagues’ experience facilitating community for PubSweet, I went about planning and promoting the event.
Next stop was the NFAIS OA conference to present about Editoria in Alexandria, Virginia. I also presented to the Firebrand Community Conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (my home turf!). Both meetings were fabulous and very focused and engaged constituencies.
We decided to update the Editoria colors to align the brand with the Coko brand. We went from an autumnal palette to the majestic hues of Coko pinks, purples, and teal.
For the very first time, I attended the FORCE meeting, which was held in Montreal. While I did not present about Editoria, I facilitated a CRediT workshop with Cory Craig and Mohammed Hosseini, and I was delighted to see several community members at the main meeting, and to support their own presentations and activities. Christine Fruin of Atla Open Press had a fabulous poster accepted to the meeting, and Barbara Rühling of Book Sprints gave an excellent talk about the unique but very successful proposition of rapid and collaboratively authoring books in facilitated environments with key stakeholder groups. This was a fascinating meeting. Even for a lifelong New Englander like myself, the fall leaves in Montreal that week were stunning.
Also in October, the Shuttleworth Foundation sponsored an Editoria Book Sprint which was expertly facilitated by Barbara from Book Sprints. The Sprint included stakeholders from UC Press, CDL, Paged.js, and Coko. It was a laser-focused and intense three days. In honesty, I was initially nervous that there was no way we would be able to write a book in such short time, yet the magic of the Book Sprint proved very real, and we finished writing, editing, and designing the book in Editoria – export and all- mid afternoon on the final day of the sprint. We overnight printed the book because..
Also in October, we held the first ever Editoria Community Meeting at the International Center in North Beach, San Francisco. We had everything: the best people in publishing, a busy and interesting agenda, productive break out sessions contributing proposals to our first ever community roadmap proposal process, good food, great weather and the delivery of our overnight printed Editoria documentation book. We literally cut open the box and saw the books for the first time right in the same room, all together, as one supportive community. That was a key moment.
At this time, the ownership of Editoria shifted. First it was a Coko, UCP, CDL collaboration, but at the meeting, the community took ownership of it fully. This was both symbolic but also practical as the community roadmap process adoption was discussed openly at the meeting, and all agreed that going forward, the system would be developed this way.
The version of Editoria that I’d consider ‘1.0’ rolled out at this meeting, too. It was the first version to feature the integration of Paged.js. At the meeting we had speed geeking sessions that allowed everyone attending to see all of the Coko components at work in Editoria, as demonstrated by its key stakeholder within the organization. These were some of the community’s favorite live demonstrations and elements of the meeting, based on feedback gathered. They were necessarily rapid, but they yielded excellent questions and discussion among the groups moving through the geeking stations/cycle.
November was full of demos. I attended my first Charleston Conference where I presented about Editoria within a session about the Joint Roadmap for Open Science Tools. I also attended an Editoria session organized and delivered by UCP and CDL. It was a proud moment to see the community taking ownership of outreach within their own community of influence.
Also in November, we participated in a webinar on the consolidating market of software solutions providers within scholarly publishing organized by NFAIS. This was a cool opportunity, and like all the others, it precipitated a steady stream of ‘after the event’ demonstrations for attendees.
In December, I visited active Editoria Community member organization Book Sprints in their hometown of Berlin for a day of brainstorming and discussion. I also enjoyed sightseeing around Berlin for the very first time. The city is on my list of most interesting and beautiful.
We also held All Things Coko in London. This meeting invited anyone interested in any of the Coko technology to come together to learn more, share discussion, and actually see all of the platforms that were in development at that time. Same speed geeking format, but instead of breaking down components of one platform, we were sharing all of the platforms developed with PubSweet. Editoria was on display at this meeting within the speed geeking sessions. I will never forget a very strange glitch on my laptop during my final round (those there probably won’t forget either!), not because it was significant – live demos are always very risky, especially running many at a time in one event space- but because of the camaraderie and expertise on display when my colleague Julien dove in to troubleshoot and correct the issue in lightning speed.
I attended my first PIDapalooza – which was fascinating – and in Dublin. I took the opportunity to extend my stay to shoehorn in a family trip to Ireland with my husband and young children.
It was a very happy new year when we announced that our renewal of Mellon Funding was successful. This was a very grateful and validating moment for the community. It was recognition that we were doing valuable work worth continuing, and together!
February – April 2019
In February, we began planning the second Editoria Community meeting. How to win the lottery twice in terms of getting the event just so? Each detail had to be perfect, as the community was growing, and an imminent new release was only going to accelerate interest.
In April, we travelled back to San Francisco for the Community Meeting. We unveiled a powerful new release, we incorporated use case based presentations but also presentations from key adjacent friendly technologies. We discussed thorny issues like accessibility and sustainability. We had amazing coffee, gorgeous artisan cakes, and once again, the best people in books publishing. We even had live examples of Editoria-produced books, and presentations from the organizations involved. A really memorable time was shared.
A new community roadmap began on site at the meeting with proposals piling up in GitLab almost immediately. One thing was certain: the next version of Editoria was going to be amazing! We also began convening regular workgroups in the areas of Accessibility, Metadata, Image Library, and Indexing.
We began calling community members for ‘check ins’ just to see how they feel about their participation, the platform, and the meetings. These calls were so enjoyable and positive. They really jumpstarted my process of planning the December 2019 Community Meeting, which we announced, will take place in Chicago, December 3 and 4.
While somehow keeping up with the flood of demo requests spurred by the latest release of Editoria, we traveled to Columbus, Ohio to present Editoria at CSE, then straight to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada to present Editoria to the Library Publishing Forum along with key community members within a panel updating the Forum on the progress the community made across the past year.
After that, we moved on to SSP in San Diego where I moderated the third Open Source Bazaar, presenting on Editoria within that pre-meeting workshop. We also attended AUP in Detroit – another city on my emerging ‘most interesting and beautiful’ list. At AUP, I presented about Editoria in a session about emerging software solutions for books workflow support. This was another amazing session where the response to the demo was much greater than expected both within the session in the form of great questions, and outside of it.
Also in June, Coko convened its Management Summit, and I was honored to participate as part of the newly formed management team. At this meeting we discussed both the future of Coko and the future of Editoria. At this moment, it was very clear just how big the vision is for both Coko and Editoria, and how dedicated Coko is to its mission.
As a result of this session we rolled Editoria back to its original color scheme. We love the logo and colors and the community does too! We recently announced the outcome of some of the strategies decided on that day in the first Coko quarterly review.
July – August 2019
In July and August, the Coko team were heads down, implementing our newly agreed growth plans and strategies. We prepared for the PubSweet meeting in London at the end of August, and we also visited North Carolina to see our friends at UNC Press/ Longleaf Services. They invited their friends from across the UNC system as well as nearby Duke University, and again, the feeling of ‘this is what community is all about’ filled the air. Another memorable moment in this journey of developing community.
I attended the ISMTE conference where we announced the imminent launch of Editoria Express. This is a milestone as it marks the entry of a third-party service provider to the community.
We also announced the formation of an Advisory Group including key stakeholders who will provide input and guidance into the future of the platform and community. We shared sneak beta preview of the new version in development.
We also announced IMLS funding via a collaboration with Open Textbook Network.
We were also featured prominently within John Maxwell’s Mind the Gap report on Open Source tools and technologies.
What a month! Looking out at the future of Editoria, I feel I can now check so many boxes that were vacant back in March 2018 in San Francisco. The goal was to develop a community around Editoria and, well, look!
This is not an exhaustive list of the community’s past achievements. There were articles published, more demos than I can accurately count, many webinars, and doubtless other initiatives I am forgetting as so very much as happened in a relatively short but substantial period of time. There were tweets and posts; posts and tweets. We covered the world with Editoria posters, books, stickers, and pins!
When I moved from the for-profit sector to the non-profit sector, someone I respect very much told me that sometimes, with non-profits, your job is literally to do yourself out of a job. This was a challenging and very stressful thought in my mind while I was transitioning in to Coko. Of course, I would do excellent work, but I couldn’t fathom ‘doing myself out of a job.’ The two seemed fundamentally at odds. In my world view, I thought, you do excellent work to make yourself irreplaceable. Isn’t that success?!
What I wanted most out of this role was to be at the beginning of something. I’d been fortunate to work for very well established and mature publishers and SaaS tools before, and I wanted to seize opportunities to understand what it is like to work to establish something- especially something values driven and transformative as Coko and Editoria.
Today, the community is very strong. Community leadership is in place. It’s time for me to explore a new set of opportunities in my professional life, and for Editoria to continue on its journey which is already well along a bright and promising path.
I close with sincere gratitude for those who initially entrusted me with this amazing project, for those who spent time on demos or at meetings educating me, confiding in me relative to the future of books production workflows. Now, we are friends. I am delighted to say I will continue my planned participation on the Editoria Advisory Group, and I look forward to seeing you all next at the Editoria Community Meeting in December.