Tech Forum & ebookcraft 2018: More speaker announcements!

We're back to present you with more speakers for our 2018 Tech Forum and ebookcraft conferences!

In this announcement we've got Tech Forum talks on how to use data to reveal gender bias in contemporary fiction and how mature companies can find inspiration from start-ups, panels on building in-house momentum for diverse books, the future of blockchain for the book industry, and more.

At ebookcraft we're announcing workshops on life after Adobe, rendering equations in ebooks, among others, and main-day talks about updates on digital standards and a bookstore's perspective on quality control, support improvements, and user feedback.

See below for the full list of announced speakers and sessions.

We're going to continue to announce speakers from now until March 12, 2018 when registration closes. But don't wait until March to get your tickets, take advantage of our early-bird prices until Jan. 31, 2018 to get the best deal.

Tech Forum 2018 sessions and speakers

Photos of Tech Forum speakers

Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life with Startups

In October 2008, Jim Stengel shocked the marketing world by leaving his prestigious role as Global Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble, one of the most admired brand building companies in the world. This bold move was Jim’s first step on a new mission to share his passion for growing business through a focus on higher ideals. To continue on his mission, Jim has embraced a variety of exciting roles: President/CEO of The Jim Stengel Company, LLC, author of Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies and Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life with Startups, speaker with the Washington Speakers Bureau®, and advisor to several companies.

Using data to reveal gender bias in contemporary fiction

Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. His work focuses on using the tools of data science, machine learning, and natural language processing to promote a more inclusive understanding of culture and creativity. His research is grounded in the history of reading technologies and how they have shaped human cultures.

Piper is the director of .txtLAB, a cultural analytics laboratory at McGill, as well as editor of the new open access journal Cultural Analytics. He is the leader of the SSHRC-funded multinational partnership grant, “NovelTM: Text Mining the Novel,” which brings together over 20 academic and non-academic partners across North America in the humanities, computer science, and industry to facilitate the first large-scale quantitative and cross-cultural study of the novel.

He is the author most recently of Enumerations: Data and the Elements of Literature (Chicago, 2018), which provides an introduction to the uses of data modeling towards the study of literature. He is a past recipient of an Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellowship and the McGill Principal’s Award for Best Emerging Researcher (2015). His work has appeared in The AtlanticThe New RepublicThe GuardianSlateLe Devoir, and on the CBC. He is also the author of Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times (Chicago 2012).

Eve Kraicer is Senior Researcher at .txtLAB, a cultural analytics laboratory at McGill University. She graduated from McGill in 2017 with a BA in Cultural Studies. For her honours thesis, she analyzed patterns of linguistic contagion in contemporary plague fiction. Her current work at .txtLAB applies machine learning and social network analysis to measures of cultural inequality, with particular focus on issues of gender bias and intersectionality in recent texts.

Panel: Building In-House Momentum for Diverse Books

Léonicka Valcius is a Toronto-based publishing professional who advocates for equity and inclusion in Canadian publishing and literature. She is the Chair of the Festival of Literary Diversity’s Board of Directors and is the founder of #DiverseCanLit. She previously worked at Scholastic Book Fairs as a book buyer and marketerand at Penguin Random House Canada as part of the Online and Digital Sales team. She is currently an Assistant Agent at Transatlantic Agency. Follow her work at and on Twitter at @leonicka.

Anyka Davis, currently Inside Sales Coordinator at Penguin Random House Canada, is a graduate of Centennial College’s publishing program and was a publicity intern at PRHC before joining their sales department as Sales Coordinator. She spends most of her free time reading as many diverse books as she can get her hands on. Follow her on Instagram (@anykatd).

Panel: Retailers Bridging the Digital Divide

Jenn Haines (MA, B.Ed., OCT) is the owner of The Dragon, Guelph’s comic and games store, operating in two locations. She has a Bachelor of Education, with 10 years of teaching experience, and a Master’s in Classical Studies.

Jenn curates The Dragon Prize for the Joe Shuster Awards, recognizing the best all-ages graphic novel by a Canadian each year. She is a board member of ComicsPro, the only professional organization of comic shops. Jennifer is one of the Guelph Mercury’s 40 Under 40 and a recipient of the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Business category. The Dragon is a recipient of the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award, which recognizes the best comic stores in the world. It is also the winner of several local reader’s choice awards.

Jenn lives in Guelph with her husband and two daughters, Junia and Darwin. In her very vague spare time, she sings barbershop with The Over Tones and the quartet Bluebird.

Jessica Walker is the managing partner at Munro’s Books in Victoria, BC. Founded by Jim Munro and his wife Alice in 1963, Munro’s Books is proud to be named as one of the world’s best bookstores by National Geographic, and appears on many lists of beautiful bookshops to visit. Walker joined the staff of Munro’s Books in 2000, and took over the store with three fellow staff members in 2014.

Before joining Munro’s, she worked for many years at Blackberry Books in Vancouver, managing the 4th Avenue and Granville Island locations. She also worked at the UBC Bookstore, Barbara-jo’s Books to Cooks, and with sales representatives Kate Walker and Company (now Ampersand Book and Gift).

Panel: Blockchain and Building the Future of Information Management and Sharing

Brian O’Leary is executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, a U.S.-based trade association that works to create a more informed, effective and efficient book industry supply chain. He oversees the work BISG does to disseminate information, create and implement standards, conduct research and grow membership from companies working throughout the supply chain.

Before being named to this role in 2016, O’Leary was founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, which worked with magazine, book and association publishers to improve how they create, manage and distribute content. In that role, O’Leary wrote extensively about issues affecting the publishing industry. With Hugh McGuire, he has edited Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, a collection of forward-looking essays on publishing (O’Reilly Media, 2012).

O’Leary is also the author of research reports on: the use of metadata in the book industry supply chain, territorial rights in the digital age; and best practices in digital exports. He has studied the impact of free content and digital piracy on paid content sales and was the editor and primary contributor on a study of the use of XML in book publishing, two reports published by O’Reilly Media.

Before he became a consultant, O’Leary served as senior VP and associate publisher with Hammond Inc., where he restructured editorial operations to benefit from the firm’s prior technology investments. He came to Hammond after a 12-year career overseeing production and distribution operations at several of Time Inc.’s weekly magazines, including Time, Entertainment Weekly and People. O’Leary joined Time Inc. after earning an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He also holds an A.B. in chemistry from Harvard College.

Andreas Park is an Associate Professor of finance at the University of Toronto, where he has been a faculty member since 2003. He is a member of the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Mississauga, and he is cross-appointed at the Rotman School of Management and the Institute of Management and Innovation. Andreas works on a number of theoretical and empirical research projects on the economic impact of technological transformations such as high frequency and dark trading in Canadian equity markets and the impact of the market design of trading when securities are on the blockchain.

His work has been published in such top journals in economics and finance as Econometrica, the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, and the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis. He has received and has been an affiliate of a number of research grants from the Economic and Social Research Council in the U.K., the Social Sciences and Humanities Higher Research Council in Canada, and the Global Risk Institute.

Andreas has served as co-director of the Master of Financial Economics program at the University of Toronto, he is the Associate Chair of the department of management at UTM, and he teaches courses on FinTech, market microstructure, trading, investments, asset pricing, and corporate finance. He is currently serving a two-year term on the Ontario Security Commission’s Market Structure Advisory Committee, he is a pro-bono consultant for the Investment Regulatory Organization of Canada, and he is a founding member of the Rotman School of Management’s Financial Innovation Hub.

Madeleine Shang is the co-founder of Backflip Inc., a Next 36 and DMZ company. A former venture capitalist and financier, Madeleine serves as the JavaScript track lead at Women Who Code Toronto and as a JavaScript and machine learning engineer at OK GROW! As a blockchain and machine learning developer, consultant, and educator, Madeleine has contributed to the Ethereum and Dash ecosystems and has served as blockchain architect and lead deveoper at Mercantis, a decentralized marketplace for verified medical research and EMR data. Madeleine is also an avid and fearless (insane) adventurer who dreams of building a remote coding outpost in Alaska, complete with a log cabin, blueberry field, and the requisite satellite internet.


ebookcraft 2018 sessions and speakers

ebookcraft speaker photos.

End of the Conveyor Belt: A bookstore’s perspective on quality control, support improvements, and user feedback

Ben Dugas has worked at Kobo since 2009 where he has handled a great number of responsibilities including onboarding Kobo’s first generation of self published authors, converting ePubs to support territory and device launches, writing ePub guidelines, logging bugs, user stories and generally trying to keep Kobo’s eReading platforms aligned with the ever evolving world of content development. Throughout all this his primary mission has been to find defective content, work with publishers to revise as many titles as possible, provide insight to content creators on the capabilities of Kobo’s apps and devices and expand the range of content that Kobo can ingest and display as intended. In short, he wants everyone to be able to send their books and he wants them all to work for customers who choose to spend their leisure time with Kobo.

In his present role he oversees content QA (incoming content testing, failure reporting and the monitoring of customer feedback) as well as self publishing operations for Kobo Writing Life (admin tool maintenance, ePub production and communications and troubleshooting of content management issues with our many, many authors).

Laser Focus: Or Don’t Get Too Distracted by That Shiny Object (or Ebook Feature)

Liisa McCloy-Kelley, VP Director Ebook Product Development & Innovation, is responsible for leading the charge as Penguin Random House works to create innovative new ebook products and drive new functionality for the ebook marketplace. She has been with the company for more than 25 years and co-leads a corporate team of 40 developers, designers, and producers dedicated to advancing ebooks in support of authors and their stories. Since 2000, she has worked on a variety of ebook standards with numerous organizations including the Book Industry Study Group, the International Digital Publishing Forum, and currently serves on the Steering Committee, Publishing Business Group, and Publishing Working Group for the Publishing@W3C activities within the World Wide Web Consortium. She has spoken at many industry conferences and has taught at the New York University Publishing Center and the Yale Publishing Course.

MathML: Equation Rendering in ebooks

Peter Krautzberger is an independent consultant, working primarily with scientific publishers on web-centric content architecture and the supporting toolchains. He manages the MathJax Consortium (a joint venture of the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) known for the leading equation rendering solution for the web. Peter is also an invited experts at the W3C Publishing Working Group and co-chairs the Math-on-webpages Community Group. In another life, he received a PhD in mathematics from Freie Universitaet Berlin.

We tear apart your ebooks: how, why, and what you can do to stop us

Sabina Iseli-Otto is the Public Services Librarian at the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), a national digital library of accessible format materials that works with public libraries and publishers across Canada to ensure equal access to reading materials for all Canadians. She works with public libraries to help local readers find technology and books they want to read in whatever format works for them. Her favourite discussion topics are the commercial availability exception in the Copyright Act and the privatization of public library space. She lives in rural Alberta where she doesn’t belong, and loves talking with people about books and revolutions of all sizes.

Farrah Little is a librarian, former web designer, and accessibility enthusiast. She is currently the Content Coordinator at the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS), a national digital library of accessible format materials that works with public libraries and publishers across Canada to ensure equal access to reading materials for all Canadians. Farrah manages digital book production and distribution for NNELS. She enjoys inspecting ebooks for accessibility and thinking of ways to improve accessible book production workflows. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where she frequents its many excellent coffee shops with a book in hand.

Life after Adobe

Nick Barreto works where books and technology intersect. He’s managed and built apps, is as an expert on ebook formats, metadata, and workflows. He is committed to automating all the repetitive tasks to free up more time for the work that matters.

Simon Collinson is an Australian web developer, typesetter, and digital publishing specialist. Previously digital editor at Canelo, he’s now Manager, Content Sales at Kobo. He writes regularly for The Bookseller, epubsecrets, and other trade publications, and campaigns fiercely against unpaid internships.

Updates from the Digital Standards Frontlines

Tzviya Siegman is Wiley’s Information Standards Lead. Tzviya wrote and maintained Wiley’s ebook specifications and stylesheets and serves as Wiley’s liaison to industry standards groups. She currently works in Wiley’s Platform Architecture Group, joining her interests in content structure, standards, accessibility, and linked data. Tzviya co-chairs the W3C Publishing Working Group, helping to make the web and publishing better friends.

At W3C Karen Myers serves as business development leader for the Americas and Australia regions. In this role she engages in a variety of new business outreach and member engagement activities to support multiple vertical industries participating in W3C, including Publishing. In 2012, together with Ivan Herman, W3C technical lead for publishing, Karen helped organized a series of W3C Workshops in the US, Europe, and Asia to explore the opportunity for new standards work for the publishing industry at W3C. By 2013 the first W3C Publishing Interest Group was formed. Since then she has been an advocate for the publishing community at W3C, managing the communications for W3C’s combination with IDPF in February 2017 as well as the launch of the new Publishing Business Group and Publishing Working Group. Before joining W3C, Karen worked for Leo Burnett Technology Group as Vice President of Strategic Planning in Boston, MA and in Frankfurt, Germany. She enjoys spending as much time as possible at her cottage in Canada.