Forcing people to think and write in a way that allows a machine to process texts as data has meant that human creativity is caught in a man-machine communication rather than reinforcing a man-man communication. Today, more than ever, we need to come up with a new idea of social writing, before an alphabetical one. We need to redefine the concept of writing as a functional tool that responds to the necessities of the entire society, economy, and culture, and ask ourselves questions for which answers are not readily available.

Our work in Content Publishing regards empirical research on the new generation of publishing. Profoundly interwoven with applications for formative communication, the aim is to generate knowledge in greatly different contexts. Our experience with publishing experimentation and knowledge publishing started with the foundation of the Centro Ricerche e Applicazioni dell’Informatica all’Analisi dei Testi (CRAIAT) in 1992, founded at the CESIT (today known at SIAF) of the University of Florence, where innovative editorial prototypes were developed on an international level.

Content Publishing to put contents, authors, contexts and different users in touch with each other

The Content Publishing research begun by the CfGC in June 2017 is linked to this experimental line and is based on building synergetic webs between contents from different thematic and disciplinary areas, various communication tools, and contexts of use. In particular, we aim to test forms of knowledge building that redefine the relationship between who is considered an expert and who needs that expert’s knowledge, expertise, or skill. In this framework, the CfGC is bringing to life an “other”- as opposed to a traditional – publisher conceived with the objective of generating contents and managing them in extremely different application areas: from education to consultancy, from research to the most diverse of social, economic, and cultural agencies. An outlook that requires a new, redefinition of digital use.

The CfGC approach to “Content Publishing”

Content Publishing for community building

The CfGC is developing a new generation of editorial experiment to rethink Content Publishing strategies in an effort to conceive of contents as community building tools.

If publishing companies still want to have a reason to exist, they must make an effort to go beyond standard publishing in its more or less revisited forms and new technologies.They need to experiment with new communication methods that offer the possibility to build networks of connections between knowledge and projects to develop, expertise and needs, abilities and necessities with an outlook toward generating new communities, societies, policies, and culture.

In the CfGC’s vision, authors and end-users must once again find a common terrain where they can enter into communication. By this we mean there’s the need to give life to a community of values, priorities, intent, and finality. In other words, an environment of coplanning, cooperation, and collaboration.
In times like ours, criss-crossed by tensions arising from radical change that requires new and more suitable paradigms to face the challenges of contemporaneity, formative communication naturally becomes strategic.

Strongly experimental prospects of applied research

The Content Publishing project was born from the conviction that publishers–and not only–continue to erroneously interpret the content they render public according to a limited and limiting vision. This occurs because the content is conditioned by the dominant communication paradigm of today which is based only on transmissive dynamics. If applied to knowledge, this cannot lead to innovation, or at best innovation at the sector level, in other words on a modest scale.

Working with knowledge, it’s necessary to keep in mind that:

  • knowledge is always an expression first of values and then of planning, on micro and macro, local and global scale. It’s a question of research priorities and sharing. Knowledge can thus be considered a cultural event, both cause and effect of historically well defined and clearly characterized community building processes.
  • it’s dangerous, or at least counterproductive, to speak about knowledge using economic-finance metaphors that refer to “capital” “adding value,” “assets,” “goods,” “deposits,” “spendability,” “wells,” etc. Doing so means ignoring the human dimension of knowledge and relegates it to an objective and falsely neutral pseudoscientific universalism.

In this perspective, the Content Publishing project was conceived to test a new generation of communication in publishing that is accredited and reliable and that, at the same time, looks for new relationships between content experts and situations where these contents are utilized.

Bringing into communication these two dimensions of knowledge–experts and end-users–means working toward the university’s Third Mission, recently formalized and still under development by the National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (ANVUR). The CfGC interprets this mission not as a mechanical, one-way “transfer of knowledge” but as the need to create stable and structured communication between universities and society to foster direct interaction, with clear distinctions regarding rights and duties and expertise and needs, with the aim of functional community building and a society based on knowledge.

Therefore, communication able to generate social, cultural, and economic progress in real daily life, and at the same time stimulate research and education working in this same direction.

The CfGC’s Content Publishing project, part of the “Generative Communication” brand, is a contribution to research and tangible experimentation along this lengthy strategic pathway.

A project that comes from afar

With the Content Publishing project, the CfGC examines the needs of numerous areas: from cultural heritage to training, from agriculture to healthcare, from mobility and infrastructures to welfare, from the right to health to the environment, work organization, human resources, tourism, and sport.
This experimental line has continued uninterrupted since the early 1990s when the CfCG, at that time known as the CRAIAT, began working on research projects that would bring together in the coming decades publishers (Marsilio Editore, Edizioni Cultura della Pace, Gruppo Rizzoli, Laterza Editore, Einaudi, Giunti Editore, Gruppo De Agostini, Pearson, RAI, Brepols-University of California, IGI Global, Apogeo-Feltrinelli, Apogeo-Maggioli etc.), ministries (Ministry for Arts and Culture, Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and MIUR), institutes and research centers (National Institute for Documentation, Innovation and Educational Research – INDIRE, ENEA, CNR, etc.), local agencies (regions, municipalities, provinces, metropolitan areas), public and private enterprises (from Philips to Kodak, Gruppo Bassilichi to IBM, from the Careggi University Hospital to COOP, from the Cecchi Gori Group to Google, Telecom and today’s TIM, etc.), and associations (from UISP – Unione Italiana Sport Per tutti – to the Lega contro i Tumori, from representative associations and organizations to CeSVoT – Centro Servizi Volontariato Toscano etc.).