Category: Work

A Year of Adventuring: March

LifeMonthly UpdateTravelWork

March was an exciting month. I presented at my first conference, ebookcraft, which was in Toronto. I’d never been to Toronto before, so that was a completely new adventure in itself!

As the months go by, I find myself feeling extremely lucky that I have a job where I’m supported and encouraged to do things like travel to conferences and share my experience. (Mostly because I’ve never really thought that I had anything worth sharing.) But just as in my travels, I find that the more I go places and talk, the more I realize how important it is to me. I love talking to people and . There’s a simple humanness to learning from each other that makes the hours of preparation and nerves worth it.

Now, the exciting part: Toronto!

I’ve been to Canada before, briefly, to visit Niagara Falls, but I really consider this my first Canadian experience. Something about exploring the city on foot makes it a completely new experience, and I’m thankful that I had the chance to spend some time in Toronto after the conference was done. I learned a lot about myself, as usual, and also about my boyfriend, who I was traveling with. For example, he loves trains. I know this because we spent many hours in a railroad museum while he drove the train simulator. We also took a tour of a local brewery (Steam Whistle Brewing) and saw The Book of Mormon, which was hilarious.

Mostly it was a welcoming and relaxing vacation, not too planned or hurried. I’ll admit I often try to pack too much into my short travels (as you’ll see in my entry for April), but this was pretty perfect.

Ebooks and Accessibility – a few words I find myself explaining on a daily basis

LifeWork

I normally keep my work life separate from my personal life, which for me, includes my blog. While I love my job and take pride in my work, it’s not my entire life. But I digress – the reason I mention this at all is to say that, for once, it’s time for me to talk about work on my blog.

I work as a Digital Products Assistant at The MIT Press. I’ve been there about a year now, and I still have to explain to everyone (including people I work with) what my job actually entails – which is, in a word, ebooks. I convert them from print book formats (using some basic HTML/XML and CSS coding), send them out to vendors (like Amazon, so you can read them on your Kindle), and spend the rest of my time figuring out what to do when things go wrong. That last one takes up about 60% of my work day.

Anyway, recently I’ve become interested in another aspect of publishing that no one understands: accessibility. It’s closely tied to ebooks, in that people are asking how we, as publishers, can make our digital content accessible to those who can’t read our print books. As you might expect, it’s not a simple question. In addition to trying to educate my coworkers at the Press, I’ve been trying to learn the basics of this myself.

And somehow, because of my interest in accessibility, I now have the opportunity to lead a workshop at ebookcraft, a conference held annually in Toronto specifically for ebook developers (like me). This is completely terrifying, but also amazing (but mostly terrifying, if I’m being honest). Luckily I have the support of my entire department, my friends and family, and one of my peers at Michigan Publishing, who is much more experienced and wise than I am.

One of the best things about me being so interested in learning about accessibility is that I have the opportunity to share information with others who feel just as lost as I did not too long ago. Recently I wrote a blog post about some of the basics of accessibility in publishing, and if you’re curious, you can read it here.

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