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Institute for Future of the Book gets genius grant

Bob Stein's Institute for the Future of the Book (if:book) has received a $400,000 MacArthur Grant (the "genius grants"). Stein tells Library Journal's Academic Newswire:

[The grant] will facilitate the completion of the long-awaited Sophie, a set of digital authoring tools. Stein told the LJ Academic Newswire that Sophie 1.0 could see a release as early as February '08. The grant continues the MacArthur Foundation's support of if:book. MacArthur helped found the institute with a 2004, $500,000 grant to its parent institution, the University of Southern California, Annenberg Center for Communication.

Sophie is designed to enable people to create "robust, elegant rich-media, networked" documents. "We have word processors, video, audio and photo editors but no viable options for assembling the parts into a complex whole except tools like Flash which are expensive, hard to use, and often create documents with closed proprietary file formats," notes a Sophie product description. "Sophie promises to open up the world of multimedia authoring to a wide range of creative people."
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