By |2018-07-19T15:10:40+00:00July 13th, 2017|Categories: e-Publishing|Tags: , , , , |

Why the University of Magdeburg publishes its research magazine as an app

Modern communication is a top priority in many fields, including in academia. The Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg produces interactive publications of “Guericke Magazine”, providing its diverse readership with research information in digital form. Two years ago, the university published its print publication “Guericke” in app form for the first time, using Purple DS® to create “GUERICKEmag”. The editorial team had previously used Adobe DPS® to create digital editions of the magazine. 

GUERICKEmag Download: iOS I Android

During the transition to Purple DS®, we spoke with Anneke Richter, Department Head of the Media Center at the university, and Susanne Rehfeld, graphic designer and team lead for the “GUERICKEmag” app. Ms. Rehfeld shared her experiences working with Purple DS®, while Ms. Richter spoke about the goals and future plans for the “GUERICKEmag” app.

An interview with:

Anneke Richter, Department Head, Media Center, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

The Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg has demonstrated that it’s very forward-thinking by presenting its research magazine in an interactive kiosk app. Would you consider publishing additional magazines via the “GUERICKEmag” app?

Anneke Richter: Right now we’re thinking about publishing our internal university magazine for employees via the app as well. I’m sure that would be welcomed not only by our digitally savvy users but also the sustainability office. We’re trying to come up with sustainable strategies in different areas, including our publications, and to move away from the flood of paper that accompanies print media. I think there is a lot of potential when it comes to finding uses for the app.

Can you foresee a time when all of your publications are digital-only?

Anneke Richter: We can’t move to an entirely digital strategy because we have different target groups. Our magazine readers come from the world of politics and business or are alumni who are 70 to 80 years old. This diversity among our readers with different habits and interests means that we need to continue with our two-track strategy. We could move to digital-only publications for target groups who are internet savvy, app savvy or media savvy. These target groups don’t feel the need to hold a hard copy in their hands. I think the research magazine will probably always be published as a print and a digital magazine. Another reason for that is that a portion of our readers ascribes a higher value to printed products than to apps.

How would you describe this high quality of the printed product and the added value of a digital magazine?

Anneke Richter: At the moment, there are still target groups who really like to have something tangible to hold. Our research magazine is a very high-quality print publication. The tangible aspect provides the corresponding target group with an added value that the digital publication cannot offer them. For the target group of prospective and current students, we publish a majority of our print editions online as well. That target group would probably not mind if the print edition were not available. But in order to share information about the university’s research achievements with as broad an audience as possible, we need to keep publishing the research magazine as a high-quality print product.

I see a lot of potential for digital development in our internal communication. A monthly employee or science magazine could easily be turned into a digital publication. Publishing digitally would enable us to share information more frequently and via different types of media, such as audio, video, and images. The added value stems from the experiential presentation of topics and the option of sharing current information as quickly as possible. (Note from the editor: Newsfeeds are particularly suited for this type of function.)

Which publications are you currently using for internal communications? Do you already have an established plan for digital transformation?

Anneke Richter: Our internal magazine, “uni-report”, is published two or three times a year as an information source for members and those involved with the university. Right now we’re thinking about ways to measure the level of acceptance for this print format. The fact is that a digital publication has a lot more to offer. For example, it would give us the opportunity to enrich the publication with news from other sectors or with videos. That would allow us to publish the magazine on a quarterly basis while also disseminating shorter news reports between issues.

We would like to thank Anneke Richter for sharing her thoughts with us during this spontaneous interview.

To obtain more details on the publishing possibilities of Purple DS®, please get in touch!

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