Jon Noring — Digital Publishing Bio (1993-2011)

(Last updated 19 June 2012)

Jon Noring portraitJon Noring was a long-time digital (e-book) publisher, technologist, advocate, entrepreneur, standards developer (primarily EPUB), and community builder.

Most recent positions

Jon was, up to recently, an independent consultant for the digital publishing industry, under the banner of Windspun Technologies. Prior to this, he was Vice President of Development for DigitalPulp Publishing.

Many years of innovative digital publishing entrepreneurship

Jon was one of the early e-book pioneers, founding OmniMedia Digital Publishing in 1993. During the 1990’s, OmniMedia published a catalog of e-books from both contemporary authors (including Michel Basilières who has since become a well-known author published by Random House) and various public domain works. Jon’s publishing venture was his way of keeping in direct, personal touch with the distribution and retail sides of the e-book industry. A few years later OmniMedia Digital Publishing was reorganized into the more modest Blue Glass Publishing, and recently renamed Pandigo Press (site under construction) for the purpose of self-publishing.

Within the area of e-book technology development, Jon co-founded and was a director in several companies, including Exemplary Technologies (1999) and its successor, Yomu (in early 2000, when Yomu was on the cusp of securing $14 million in venture capital funding, it fell victim to the dot-com crash as did just about all the other e-book related start-up ventures of that time.) Other more recent companies and initiatives included Windspun, KidzTel/GraffitiWorkz, and LibraryCity.

Open standards advocate, IDPF working group contributor, and EPUB expert

From 1999 to 2009, Jon significantly contributed to the technical development of e-book format specifications released by IDPF (formerly OeBF). His leadership contributions included briefly serving as acting Chair and Vice Chair of the OEBPS Working Group, and Chair of its Maintenance Subgroup. Jon technically contributed to all three versions of IDPF’s OEBPS 1.x specification, and to the successor standards: OPS 2.0, OPF 2.0 and OCF 1.0 which underlie “EPUB 1.0”.

Mr. Noring has become a well-known expert in applying XML technologies to e-books and digital publishing. In May 2003, for eBookWeb (no longer active), Jon published a seminal article, “OEBPS: The Universal Consumer eBook Format?” which launched the OpenReader open standards effort. OpenReader is said to have spurred IDPF to bite the bullet and develop EPUB as an open standard e-book distribution format.

Recently, Jon worked on two related technology standards intended to benefit the e-book industry, particularly for smaller publishers: the "Generalized Container Format", and the BookX markup vocabulary. In addition, Jon scoped out an open standard format for third-party annotation of, and linking between, digital publications.

Creating and nurturing online digital publishing communities

As an e-book advocate and creator of a number of online communities, in 1996 Jon founded, and up to recently administered, The eBook Community (TeBC). A few years ago, when online groups hit their peak, TeBC was the Internet’s oldest, largest and most respected general e-book industry forum, peaking at over 3000 subscribers and whose membership list read as a virtual “Who’s Who” of the e-book industry at the time.

More recently Jon founded the The Digital Text Community (DTC) to discuss advanced issues in digitizing “ink-on-paper” publications.

And very recently he founded the highly successful Digital Publishing Network (DPN), a LinkedIn group which in June 2012 had over 8100 digital publishing professionals as members, and growing fast.

Jon has published a number of articles on a variety of topics to the TeleRead Blog, mostly related to e-book advocacy. The TeleRead Blog rapidly became the most read general topic e-book blog on the Internet.

Other media-related interests

Jon retains an interest in the high quality digitization of the classic books in the public domain, and occasionally contributes his “one page a day” to Distributed Proofreaders. He and two associates continue to ponder the feasibility of mass digitization of the huge number of pre-World War II audio recordings—another long-time interest of his. Jon is also interested in building a non-profit audio CD repository for digitization and archiving all known commercial audio CDs (yes, may as well think big!) Jon has also explored museum-quality fractal art printing and retains an interest in that.

Related to publishing, from his work as a scientist, Dr. Noring is published in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, and has himself been a peer-reviewer. As such, Dr. Noring has an especial interest in online journal publishing, K-12 and college textbooks, and formalized online knowledge sources such as the Wikipedia.

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