This week's question from CAMEX relates to our digital content platform or DCP project within NACS Media Solutions. Many aspects of the project have been led by Chris Tabor at Queens University and the Canadian Campus Retail Associates (CCRA). I asked Chris to help me respond to this week's question.
Q. When will the DCP platform be available in the US, including textbook access codes for content? What else will be part of this platform?
Its a good two part question and perhaps worthy of a longer article on the complexities and broader implications of the platform. This project has been evolving over the past 12-18 months. Currently we have about 115 schools participating, with roughly 75 of those being in the US and the rest in Canada. New elements are typically rolled out and tested in Canada first, and then subsequently rolled down to the states. The participating US stores are currently live with a selction of free, public domain content.
In lieu of a longer article on the platform, for now the short answer to Part A is that the next phase of the system will begin to be deployed over the the next several weeks at select schools with select publishers. The goal is to have a solution ready for a large number of US schools in time for fall 2011.
Part B, As you may be aware the Canadian version of the platform system has commercially distributed mainstream publisher access codes for two academic terms. More recently faculty authored content and ebooks were added for commercial distribution at two universities. The platform also distributes classroom management applications or licences.
To date the system distributes only those codes and materials required by the instructor, which accounts for the near 100 percent sell through . However in the US version optional codes and materials will be available as will many trade titles. Of particular interest to developers is the capability of the platform to distribute software applications or licenses.
Think of it this way: generally the system distributes access to two kinds of materials. The first is static content such as pdfs and epubs or etextbooks. The second is dynamic content (think web site) and the system sells access to the web site in the form of licences or access codes.
The shorter answer to Part B: The platform can and will accommodate most forms of digital course materials and, more importantly, most digital course material distribution models.
We are planning increased communication to current participating stores, and then to our broader membership over the summer months of 2011. Some additional information can be located at http://campusebookstore.com/