The following is a brief report on the Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement (LCRM) project’s activities from October 29th to November 25th 2008, when our monthly meeting was held in the Boardroom at UNC Press.
We posted a faculty survey on the project website to begin to solicit the opinions of scholars on our numerous ideas about online services and publications and help us prioritize them. UNC Press offers a free book to scholars who take the survey. We are pleased to have three respondents already and plan to pilot the survey with approximately a dozen scholars during December. After revising the survey, if necessary, we plan to solicit responses via an e-mail blast to UNC Press authors whose work might be considered related to the Long Civil Rights Movement.
Our project wish-list, as described in the survey, continued to take shape in four overlapping pieces: (1) an online searchable resource of unique content; (2) an online space for scholarly communication and collaboration; (3) online publishing services allowing scholars to collaborate on articles and monographs and move them through a peer-review process to publication; (4) publications, both online and in print.
To develop a searchable resource, we continued to research software and conduct inventories of content held by the four project partners. The Southern Oral History Program team completed inventorying LCRM-related interviews in their collection; the total is approximately 2,300.
At UNC Press, We continued to analyze the backlist of approximately 4,000 titles in order to identify the books potentially related to the project; we categorized each title as Core, Possible, Questionable, or Not Related. Next, we began the laborious process of rights analysis, in order to identify content for which we do not have online publishing rights.
We formed a working group to brainstorm ideas for seeding an online community in which scholars would debate and share ideas. The project partners at the Southern Oral History Program and the Center for Civil Rights continue to plan for their upcoming conferences in April; possibly, these plans will provide the seeds for the online conversations that we envision. The Long Civil Rights Movement Conference proved so popular, even before it was properly advertised, that its planners have added concurrent sessions, both to accommodate the large number of registrants and to make the conference even more comprehensive and exciting.
We continued to research and evaluate software that might assist us in offering online publishing services at UNC, and we began to identify model online publications. A visit by Maria Bonn of the University of Michigan Scholarly Publishing Office, co-hosted by Unc’s Scholarly Communication Working Group and the LCRM project, was inspiring and informative. Sylvia K. Miller, Project Director, attended the Charleston Conference for librarians and publishers and returned inspired by some of the out-of-the-box sessions held there on blogging and “publishing as community.”