If you read our presentation and description page, you know that our understanding of what the f-book can and will mean, has been in a fairly regular evolution since its inception. Its very definition has even changed. To perpetuate continued growth, we include some other writings on the ideas of free online publishing, development and financing. Including our manifesto written oh so long ago in 2000... Have something to add to the mix? Let us know!

The critical edition online

by Alain Vuillemin, Université d’Artois

An essay in French (titre: "L’édition savante en ligne") giving an overview of online critical edition's history and its current status. Good introductory reading, and not just for this site.

f-book publication: November 2001

After the e-book, the f-book

by Iván Horváth

An essay in French further elaborating ideas on public funding of cultural and scientific work and their impact on Europe, by the originator of the f-book. Also available here in Hungarian.

f-book publication: December 2000

For a slightly different perspective on a similar topic, read team member Daniel Margocsy's essay (in English) here.

f-book publication: January 2002

The original f-book debates

In the fall of 2000, Professor Horváth and his students launched their debate over what we now call the f-book. Here are the original propos of the debate, as written by Professor Horváth in October 2000. And here are some follow-up thoughts written a few days later. And here are the students' contributions to those debates. (All three sites in Hungarian, prepared as part of a developing project for the Hungarian Secretary of State for Information Technology.) A summary of those ideas, written in English, was lately retracted by its unknown author...

f-book publication: November 2001

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the manifesto

In their current form(s), eBooks are ill-adapted to the world of scientific publishing, a world which could benefit greatly from the Internet's potential. As an alternative, we propose a different model for electronic publication, one particularly well-adapted to the fields of science, though its applications could be much more far-reaching:

»    the f-book, where "f" means "free"    «

Free in form, and free to all readers.

free to design

From a technological point of view, we find the eBook's standards premature. It was 60 years after Gutenberg's invention of printing that books first appeared in their current form. A similar delay might be expected for electronic books, should they ever find a definitive form. The standards currently being imposed by publishers and software developers represent a dangerous threat to experimentation in the medium of online text. More efficient ways of information transmission may be yet achieved if we are allowed to explore its potential. The f-book is "free" -- free and open to further development -- because its standards have not been frozen like those of the eBook.

free to use

The eBook's norms were fixed prematurely to give electronic publishers control over download (and, of course, sale) of their product. But for scientific works, such control is not generally necessary. Nor is commercialization, since in most countries the financing of scientific research has not relied on income from sale of research publications. There appears to be a growing number of scientific e-publishers who have direct ties to non-commercially financed scientific organizations, and who could offer their publications as "free books". It is our belief that eBooks will not be competitive in the scientific community.

artistic publications welcome

While we realize that these considerations may also apply to certain artistic works (including visual and musical works), we do not wish to advocate the free availability of all works of art, nor do we care to enter into the dubious process of separating "high art" and "mass culture." For the time being, it seems unwieldy to propose the same model for the financing of artistic production and publication as that of scientific research. But nothing would make us happier, should you be offering your work for free on the Internet, than to see it called an f-novel, an f-play, an f-film, f-music, etc.

our criteria

What, exactly, makes an online book an f-book?

f-book publication: autumn 2000

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