Tag Archive for 'digital publishing'

Bringing Bibliographies Alive

One of the things that we hope to test in the “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” online publishing pilot is how to make publications as interconnected as possible.  Scientific, technical, and medical publishers are way ahead of humanities and social science publishers in this area, and journal publishing is ahead of book publishing.  There exist vast aggregations of scientific publications that have useful hyperlinks imbedded in their references.  We envision a day when publications of interest to historians and others who work on the long civil rights movement also will be accessible online and deeply linked.

A linked bibliography entry can be quite impressive!  If you are a premium user of our publishing pilot, check out the “Articles” section of the bibliography in Bob Korstad’s Civil Rights Unionism.  Following some of the entries, a DOI link appears.  Click it, and it will take you to the online article, whether it is available in JSTOR, or hosted by Routledge/Taylor & Francis, or wherever.  If you work at an institution of higher education, your computer will likely know whether you have access to the full text via your library and will simply show it (otherwise it will show the publication’s landing page, with bibliographical information).  Click the back button to return to Korstad’s bibliography.

A “DOI” is a digital object identifier.   Continue reading ‘Bringing Bibliographies Alive’

Slightly Unusual Genre Mix in LCRM Site

Part of the LCRM Project’s online publishing experiment is to mix genres and see how people like that.  So far, the LCRM online publishing pilot contains 34 UNC Press books, 8 not-yet-published conference papers, 1 community-organizing manual, and 1 report.  We will add to this content soon by including some published journal articles and more working papers.  Would our users like to see more working papers?  Is it useful to search published articles together with the books and papers, or is it not worth the trouble to include the published journal articles, if they are available online elsewhere?  Do historians and other scholars working on the long civil rights movement like to share and read working papers pre-publication, the way scientists do?  We had some indications in our Faculty Survey that the answers would be Yes, but we are keen to revisit these questions in practice.

LCRM Live for a Week

The “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” online publishing pilot was launched a week ago today.  It was what we might call a “soft” launch—no press release or grand announcement, just a Tweet and a blog post and some initial invitations to our project partners.  I wanted to test the site a bit, to make sure that deployment on the production server went smoothly.  I needn’t have worried; the site is solidly built and functioning well.   Soon we’ll do more publicity.  If you are reading this, consider yourself one of the “first to know”!

You can search all the books and papers and read chapter 4 of the newly published book To Right These Wrongs by Bob Korstad and Jim Leloudis without registering.  If you register, you can comment on the chapter.

Premium users whom we invite to participate during the eight-month test period have free access to the full text of the 40-plus books and papers in the site and can comment on all of them at the paragraph level.  If you are a professor, librarian, or graduate student and would like premium access, please contact us via the site.  (“Contact Us” is in the footer on each page.)


We’re live!  You can check out the LCRM online publishing pilot at https://lcrm.lib.unc.edu/voice/works

Testing, testing . . . so far, so good.

Countdown to Launch

The LCRM project team is working hard to meet our launch date of April 15, 2010 for the LCRM online publishing pilot.  Currently, the site is on a development server.  The design is being implemented, and the content is being compared to the originals to make sure that no text or other elements were dropped during conversion to XML and then HTML.  So far, this proofing has turned up only one piece of missing text but lots of small formatting errors, which are being corrected.  Of the 34 books that are scheduled to be in the site at launch, 32 have been ingested.

Because of the detailed preparation of the data by the project’s Digital Production Specialist, ingest of a book takes about a minute in the administrative area of the site devised by the project’s Programmer.

On launch day, all of the content will be re-ingested on a Library production server.  Then each publication’s home page, and some designated content, will be available to the public.  The books and papers will all be searchable together, and registered users will be able to comment at the paragraph level.  A group of premium users will have free access to all of the content; this group will be made up of project partners, authors, LCRM Conference panelists, scholars and librarians who took our surveys, scholarly publishers, and others who can offer useful feedback.   We look forward to their feedback during the eight-month test period.

Three days to go!

“The Short-Term Influence of Free Digital Versions of Books on Print Sales”

Sounds boring, but it’s not. Via Boing Boing, a new peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Electronic Publishing addressed the effect of free digital release of books on their print sales. They studied print sales of four groups of titles from publishers like Random House and Tor, and found that in most cases, free digital releases had a (moderate, short-term) positive effect on print sales.

The group of books from Tor, the only group of the four that experienced a decline in print sales following free digital release, is an important exception. But Tor also treated its release schedule differently than the publishers who enjoyed print sales increases, offering their free digital books relatively shortly before the release of the print versions, making their digital books available for only one week, and requiring registration before download. These restrictions appear to have affected print sales.

The authors measured only print sales, not, for example, digital sales of the second and third books in a series following making the first one available for free. Or sales of other books by the same author or publisher. As devices like the Kindle become more widely used, the impact of free distribution should only increase.

O’Reilly on the Future of Publishing

This brief conversation between Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media and Michael Gough of Adobe brilliantly encapsulates the publisher’s situation today, both the daunting challenges and the endless possibilities.


Of special significance to our LCRM project’s soon-to-be-launched online publishing pilot is this statement by O’Reilly:  “The book is a user interface to a body of information.”  By trusting end-users of our LCRM collection to link at the paragraph level to books, articles, papers, and archival materials, we will experiment with books as dynamic, evolving portals to deeper resources.

Some of the other important points:  the enduring need in the marketplace—even as the definition of “quality” changes and evolves–for curation, selection, and trust brands; the importance of letting go of control and trusting people; the need for iterative experimentation; the recognition that books have always presented myriad navigational tools waiting for a more ideal format.

To Right These Wrongs

To Right These Wrongs:  The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America is a forthcoming book from the University of North Carolina Press, one of the four partners involved in the Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement project (the “LCRM project”).

Coinciding with the book’s official release in May 2010, the project team plans to make Chapter 4 available to the public online, accompanied by a commenting feature allowing the authors and readers to add annotations; link to primary sources, photographs, and oral histories; or contribute memories related to the narrative.  In this pivotal chapter, “An Army of the Poor,” the authors unfold the compelling story of how the N.C. Fund staff and volunteers began to knock on doors and encourage people to speak out in organized ways, resulting in both real accomplishment and powerful opposition. Continue reading ‘To Right These Wrongs’

4 Principles for E-book Discovery & Visibility

At the Charleston Conference, I attended an all-day preconference workshop on e-books organized by Sue Polanka of Wright State University (who runs the blog No Shelf Required), Carolyn Morris of Coutts Information Services, and Janet Fischer of Publishers Communication Group, Inc. I was especially impressed with the final talk of the day, given by Anh Bui of HighWire Press, Stanford University–probably because she said things that support the ideas in our Long Civil Rights Movement online pilot!

I would like to share my notes from Anh Bui’s talk here.  Keep in mind that they are rough; I was typing as fast as I could!  The underlining is mine.  Corrections from Ms Bui or others who attended are welcome.

4 principles for e-book discovery and visibility: Continue reading ‘4 Principles for E-book Discovery & Visibility’

Digital Publishing Workshop

Following the Long Civil Rights Movement Conference in April, the “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” project team had the opportunity to discuss digital publishing with the conference panelists in a workshop.  Several members of the staff of the UNC Special Collections Library were also in the audience.  We deeply appreciate the participation of all those who attended—especially considering that a beautiful spring day and ongoing conversations about the conference panels beckoned!  Following are highlights of the workshop discussion.  I welcome comments, questions, and continued conversation.  This will be the first of a number of posts about the “publishing” part of the “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” project.

The workshop began with a number of “what ifs” suggested by LCRM team member Mark Simpson-Vos, who is an acquisitions editor at the University of North Carolina Press and a project team member, relating to “publishing as community”:  What if works of scholarship were published online with a commenting feature allowing authors and others to link to primary sources and enrich the work on an ongoing basis?   Continue reading ‘Digital Publishing Workshop’