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1,000 authors, 100 books, 6 weeks

As MOOCs are on the rise, so are the technologies that can support them | Photo by Davide Ragusa | CC BY 1.0
As MOOCs are on the rise, so are the technologies that can support them | Photo by Davide Ragusa | CC BY 1.0

In the time of information overflow, it becomes essential to offer a structured intuitively accessible web. Information architecture is the study of current online models, with the goal to organise content in a more effective way. It is a combination of graphic design, informatics and UX, with a touch of communications and marketing.

At the base of information architecture studies is the high degree of practice and the cooperation between students. When the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of the University of Lyon approached us to work together on their online course on information architecture, we were ready to plunge in.

MOOCs and online cooperation

Picture this: 6000 sign ups, 1000 authors, 100 books, all of this in 6 weeks. ENS-Lyon started a massive online open course called Mooc #archinfo. They invited academics who needed a tool which would achieve the university’s massive publishing-in-collaboration challenge, a challenge for which Sourcefabric had the perfect solution: Booktype Pro.


The cooperation between ENS-Lyon and the Booktype team achieved the goal of giving participants a tool to publish and collaboratively edit their findings into ebooks.

The University of Lyon offered 6000 francophone students, teachers, and researchers a quick way to organise and expand the digitalisation of information.

Booktype Pro was able to scale according to the 1000 authors and help them structure workflows within groups for collaborative book editing. The central platform became fruitful for creating a shared terminology, a hierarchal organisation to achieve peer reviewed publishings, and a traceable history to review at the end of the MOOC.

The support

The MOOC organisers, Pierre Bénech and Jean-Michel Salaün, worked closely with the Booktype Pro team. This mutual exchange led to the integration of new features. We were able to fully localise to French, quickly render SQLs for the mass retrieval of metadata, improve scalability and fix a number of bugs, all in an effort to offer a great experience to over 100 simultaneous users creating 1000 books.

At Sourcefabric, we saw this partnership with ENS as a great learning experience on how to improve Booktype. The big number of users of the MOOC have given insights on using Booktype as a community, which is one of the main focuses of our next release.

Looking forward to Booktype 2.0

The successful MOOC #archinfo has now come to an end and will be coming back in the winter using Booktype 2.0. Students can already track updates on Twitter with #archinfo. With Booktype 2.0, you will find many improvements to design, system security, user management and better import and rendering features.

New to Booktype? Get started with a free 30-day trial or try our demo for quick access.