Publisher open-sources content, urges mash-ups of offerings

Global publishing company Pearson announced it has opened up some of its content for mixing and matching of new products by third-party providers.

There has been no shortage of debate about the future of publishing, and what kinds of revenue models can sustain the industry in the digital age. One publisher has developed an innovative approach that may represent the industry's best prospects: provide audiences the ability to pull relevant content and mash it up into a personalized or specialized documents.

Digital economy demands new relationships between content creators, publishers and audiences. (Illustration: QuestionCopyright.org)

Pearson, a global publishing company, announced it has opened up some of its content for mixing and matching of new products by third-party providers. Developers can access the company's new Plug & Play Platform, intended to provide broad access to the company’s content. Ultimately, the content is not free in this model. Once content or datasets are employed in a new product, the developer/publisher is charged on a per-use basis. Publishers are usually very guarded about copyrighted work, but Pearson says it's time to look for new ways to get juices flowing on product development:

"The aim of the initiative is for developers to unleash their creativity, coming up with new products and new ways of using, displaying and blending Pearson content. Showcase applications are available on the platform to show the range of possibilities the datasets offer."

The new platform includes a "sandbox," or isolated testing environment, to test out their new creations. A sandbox is available for each dataset and contains a subset of the full dataset, the company says. "Once developers are ready to create a production application, they can call on each API for free (quantity varies by API) with no authorization required. After reaching a set threshold, they are charged on a pre-payment basis according to usage."

Datasets offered with this first phase of the launch include the FT Press, which provides business books, The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, and DK Eyewitness Guide to London, a travel guide.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com