The Readery’s Blockchain System. 

Case Study (Phase III).

Role — Lead UXR, Head of HCI Systems

Year — 2020

The Readery is a distributed, smart system on the Blockchain, that applies AI for an enhanced and collaborative reading experience.

  • Goals — Designing the system blueprints of an end-to-end encrypted distributed supporting network. Structure a affordances for payment-offers through micro-&-pico payments, and arrange smart contracts for including every collaborative stakeholder. Designing a backstop protocol for Authenticated Peer Reviewing (Ongoing).
  • Challenges — Although being an ongoing project, more than technological difficulties, the challenge appeared as adapting The Readery’s affordance system for uploading documents that users may want to sell without copyright permissions.
  • Learnings — Accepting alternative uses for Big Data trackers, and copyright identification search engines, while experimenting their effect with distributed systems. To this account, we started defining a meta-data actualisation contrasting tool for identifying right-holders internationally, running a relational keyword matching web crawler fed by world-wide repositories. Cooperation makes things better. Make technology an interactive bridge among people.

Overview of the Project.

The Readery is a multi-device app on the Blockchain where users can upload all-source documents, containing texts and multimedia, and transform them to become improvingly readable, editable, collaborative and shareable.

Presenting The Readery Project as a case study, this page shows its Phase III, framing the design and concept for introducing the underpinning Blockchain system. The UXR Phase I is available here, along with Phase II, defining a HCI prototype proposal based on the usage affordances extracted from our results.

What The Readery Does?

The system allows users to showcase and manage readings, publishing and protecting content via a Smart Copy System on the Blockchain, reading and editing particular texts in a flexible, interactive, distributed and personal preferences-centered manner, and most importantly, sharing works for collaborating with colleagues in a multi-user and multi-device fashion.


The Readery.

By text analysis, keyword tagging, and a new reading mode moved by user attention research, and cognitive experiments on multi-device screen reading, The Readery provides users with a powerful tool for better understanding, interacting and working with deep, long and complex texts.

Facilitating users to

become Smart Readers

as well as Published 


It serves as a registrar of original drafts of the Blockchain built like Open Self Publishing services adaptive to software companies that would like to develop such readery apps. It serves as an automated contrasting tool for copyrighted contents, shielding authors and collaborators, as well as cooperating with publishers and distributors.

Users can edit smart texts in the multi-device desktop version, set a price for selling them, arrange legal, authorship and copyright material, and let scientific, investing and research communities collaborate with collective protected works. All texts are supported by a Smart Copy System on the Blockchain (double copy fire-cut), thus if the user tries to copy a protected content and upload it for selling within any app, the system recognises it and denies piracy.



Search Engines.

The Readery applies rich data bases with qualitative tagging methods that append topic-related data to legal copyright and authorship information. This helps all stakeholders to interface with one another and agree upon copyrighted materials and their usage limitations. With all the metadata embedding their work, multimedia, graphics and informing of individual contributions, original rights holders will be able to be empowered and be more easily found.

Platforms will make implicated and interested readers can get full access as authors decided, where researchers can get On Demand comments, receiving key information about what usage readers make of their work. Automated text analysis and qualitative anonymous feedback extraction can help to this account: keyword-topic metadata will make preferences, topics and interfield centered search options to be able to offer a vast, probabilistic, international and valuable string of recommended readings to appear through targeted and clustered tagged documents, not based upon users behaviour patterns, clicking rates, or third-party advertisers scaling up results, but on scientific significance, topic and discipline similarities, or relevant applicability.

Reframing Authorship 

in Science & Writing.

The Readery system allows secured digital wallets for an effective usage of tokenised contents. Authors can give content away openly for free, or deliver it by micropayments through which to monetise strategic contents, scientific communications or manage private and collaborative patents. It’s all their choice to make documents limited and re-usable, not the labels, the distributors or the publishers alone.

Through the Blockchain, users can tailor a digital rights management system of preferences that authors are provided with. This orients authors, collaborators and third-party actors engaged (like distributors, institutions, editors and publishing companies) with a tool to manage collective and separate digital rights safeguarded via smart contracts. These can now act as a synchronised contact for enabling more open and trustworthy publishing, reading, sharing and collaborating together.

Share, collaborate, 

peer review, and 

keep on growing.

When individual autonomy combines with a prior collaborative attitude, decentralisation helps changes happen for all stakeholders to benefit in a fair way. Shareability is a must, and scientific contents need a fair and trustworthy way to provide readers with in order to channel significant content with an open disposition.

Scientific authors are content creators, rather backed by an institution, or independent academics or researchers. Wouldn’t it be a transcendental movement, from a decentralised philosophy of reading and writing perspective, to enable a more open science by creating a synchronised, author protected and controlled, collaborative and improved reading system?

The best way to participate in building a socially relevant science, is by opening our own research processes to collaboration.

What if peer review systems are commonly provided, distributed through ID-tracked and validated professional researchers? What if peers get to be actual ‘peers’, collaborating each other independently but with a common perspective? What if this collaboration gets to be trustworthy by means of using a trusted channel, an intelligent platform on the Blockchain that serves as solution for scientific value agreements? What if through collaboration, stakeholders from different natures, including authors and publishers, institutions and organisers, along with their journals and distribution nodes, benefit for their work, effort and innovative will?

For this, researchers need to secure their rights, grow ideas in a protected ecosystem, and share collective open works while practicing science. This challenge is to plan a digitalised, online open publishing and distribution platform on the Blockchain, made for those who read as much as for those who write. Formatting texts in a smart way for readers, while preserving rights for creators.

When all created contents are protected, when authors and project collaborators are dignified, when research institutions and publishers are assisted to improve distribution and scientific interaction, readers and social advancement get benefited.

Wouldn’t it be an effective way to ensure connectivity for a modernised and socially relevant research practice, that involves institutional, public, academic, but also private, independent and proposing authors to reach scientific publishing?

Background Context of the Project.

In August 2019, the Kalavik Commons, a collaborative collective of European ergonomists, UX and HCI Researchers sharing their thoughts on the field and its future, arranged the second biannual meeting of the year in Munich with the title ‘Orienting HCI & UX Research for Blockchain Systems’. What a wonderful occasion for my Danish project partner Vibeke Lundborg’s thoughts on brain-tracking ergonomics and mine to be exposed together.

We introduced 3 applied concepts on cognitive ergonomics for intelligent platforms working with AI-assisted diagnostics built on the blockchain*. Very productively, colleagues at the audience started to formulate some questions about how to implement cognitive research to be applied in the prototyping of a readery app**, with said concepts being tested in a series of experiments about user attention and screen reading performance, mainly studying the usage affordances introduced by the app, and further on the users’s practice of the readery itself. After the talk, colleagues at The Commons, Karen Johannesson (Århus) and Pam Kluge (Copenhagen), proposed to build a prototyping framework for Kalavik, starting the project.

What was to be an isolated experiment ended up being three different projects in three different years. My colleague at the Commons Vibeke Lundborg and I, in collaboration with Barbara Leid and Pam Kluge, started a cognitive experiment on reading attention and screen usability in 2018. This resulted in prototyping the HCI readery’s usage affordances applying our experimental conclusions by mid 2019. Dynamics for a blockchain system were incorporated to the prototype soon, scheduled for 2023.

* Alex Card & Vibeke Lundborg (2019) — ‘Epidiagnostic Nosographers on the Blochchain. On the Human-Software ergonomics of a diagnostic distributed platform’, in Orienting HCI & UX Research for Blochchain Systems, CBC 2019b, N.6. Munich, Germany.

** The concept of a readery was first introduced as an example of flexible design in neuroergonomics in 2018. Cf.: Alex Card & Barbara Leid (2018) ‘The Neuro-Ergonomics of Brain Software. On a near-future imagery of brain-tracking software for non-medical usage’, in Reaching Mind-Reading Software?, CBC 2018a, N.3. Copenhagen, Denmark.