> Nerd Nite 6/24/13

Nerd Nite 6/24/13

Talk 1 – “Books Made Out Of Science!” by Nellie McKesson

People like to read things on the Internet, but does that include books? For many years, publishing and the Web have been converging. Devices like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad have helped to popularize ebooks as a legitimate reading format, but digital publishing is ready to level-up from its awkward adolescence and the Internet is the hormone injection we need to make that happen. Of course, there are challenges involved in publishing books on the Web, from both a technical and design standpoint. We’ll take a look at modern print book and ebook production workflows, the technology that drives book-making automation, the current state of ebook reading and design, and where we’re heading for the future.
Nellie McKesson is the Digital Development Manager at O’Reilly Media, where she focuses on front-end Web(ish) development projects, including ebook design and implementation both for devices and the Web, as well as overseeing internal tooling development projects. She’s read a lot of books (especially while pursuing the Great Books program at St. John’s College), though these days she mostly just reads comic books.

Talk 2 – “Comics and Healthcare” by Cathy Leamy

Let’s be honest, health care materials can be boring, confusing, and alienating: Dull handouts, complicated instructions for your meds, and walls and walls of scary text when what you really need is a friendly face.

You know what would help? COMICS!

Comics provide an amazing communication format that can engage and entertain readers, simplify complex topics, cater to different learning styles, and even foster a sense of empathy and community. And thanks to technology, just about anyone can make and distribute them.

The best part is, there are people in the medical world who already know about this! Clinicians, educators, and patients are all contributing to a “graphic medicine” movement, producing material ranging from illness memoirs and instructional books to new techniques of training future doctors.

Cathy Leamy is a web application developer at Massachusetts General Hospital by day and an indie cartoonist by night. She is a member of the local comics collective Boston Comics Roundtable, and her work includes the humor/autobio series *Geraniums & Bacon* and the health awareness minicomic *Diabetes is After Your Dick!*

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