Two weeks ago, we announced the publication of a special enhanced e-book version of Freedom’s Teacher: The life of Septima Clark by Katherine Mellen Charron (click here). Produced in collaboration with the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston, the enhanced e-book features nearly 100 primary-source items, including photographs, documents, letters, newspaper clippings, and 60 audio excerpts from oral history interviews with 15 individuals—including Clark herself—each embedded in the narrative where it will be most meaningful. (See the bottom of this post for a video demonstration).
This week, the project team, the author, and professors and scholars of history celebrated the release of this exciting new product—a scholarly work which truly redefines the concept of the “talking book.” Here are a few informal photos from the event at The Crunkelton on West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
Left to right: UNC Press digital production specialist Thomas Elrod, LCRM project assistant Alison Shay, “Freedom’s Teacher” author Katherine Mellen Charron, and LCRM project director Sylvia Miller.
Adriane Lentz-Smith, Duke University’s Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History, poses with an enlarged version of the book cover.
Author Katherine Charron shows the enhanced e-book on an iPad to Duke University's Hunt Family Assistant Professor of History Adriane Lentz-Smith. Liz Lundeen, a PhD student of history at UNC Chapel Hill, watches.
A video demonstration of the enhanced e-book.
Browsable and searchable from anywhere in the text, the enhancements include transcripts, additional commentary from the author, and outbound links to online archives. The enhanced e-book is available for the Barnes & Noble Nook and the iPhone and iPad via Amazon’s Kindle app.
Check back for upcoming posts about the creation process, from the point of view of the author and project staff.
First published in 2009, this biography tells the story of civil rights activist Septima Poinsette Clark (1898-1987), who developed a citizenship education program that enabled tens of thousands of African Americans to register to vote and to link the power of the ballot to concrete strategies for individual and communal empowerment.
Clark, who began her own teaching career in 1916, grounded her approach in the philosophy and practice of southern black activist educators in the decades leading up to the 1950s and 1960s, and then trained a committed cadre of black women to lead this grassroots literacy revolution in community stores, beauty shops, and churches throughout the South. In this engaging biography, Katherine Charron tells the story of Clark, from her coming of age in the South Carolina lowcountry to her activism with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the movement’s heyday.
UNC Press and the University of North Carolina Library are pleased to announce that the first twelve DocSouth Books are now available in both print-on-demand paperback and e-book formats. This collaborative effort brings back into print several classic works from the digital library of Documenting the American South and makes them available to new generations for a variety of uses.
Comprising slave narratives, a collection of slave songs, and a call-to-arms pamphlet by a free black man, the DocSouth Books program makes accessible in book form several compelling and enlightening texts from the nineteenth century. For example, Uncle Tom’s Story of His Life: An Autobiography of the Reverend Josiah Henson is traditionally thought to have inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Also included is Solomon Northrup’s Twelve Years a Slave, which was recently slated for Hollywood adaptation by Brad Pitt.
The DocSouth Books are newly typeset for readability but otherwise unaltered from the original publications, with the original page numbers preserved. Print-on-demand copies range from $15 to $40. Downloadable e-book versions, priced between $8 and $17, are available for the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and the Barnes & Noble Nook.
Launched in 1996, the Documenting the American South online collection includes more than 1,400 digitized books, as well as maps, images, oral histories, manuscripts, and primary source material. The first twelve DocSouth Books represent the most frequently studied and requested texts in the Documenting the American South collection. The collaboration between Documenting the American South and UNC Press uses the latest technologies in digital publishing to bring affordable and unaltered versions of these rare texts to an audience of students, scholars, and general readers of all ages.
“Users now have two new ways to engage with these books,” said Jenn Riley, head of the Carolina Digital Library and Archives. “This collaboration with UNC Press makes perfect sense as a way to expand the scope of Documenting the American South.”
“UNC Press and the UNC Libraries have a long history of collaboration, and this is another great example of what has been a fruitful partnership,” said Mark Simpson-Vos, Editorial Director of UNC Press. “The publishing processes we have put in place for DocSouth Books promise to yield dividends for years to come.”
Collecting vs. Connecting looks like a court case that might be filed by our project partners at the Center for Civil Rights, but it only refers to the two ways that e-books can be enhanced with multimedia content such as audio and video files:
Collecting. The e-book can include multimedia files that are embedded with the text and travel with it wherever it goes. This way, access to the material is not dependent upon links that might break in the future. However, the scope of the content is limited to the files that were embedded prior to publication. In the multimedia e-bookGive My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues, the examples are well chosen, consistently placed, and generous in number and length, so the format certainly does not feel limiting.
Connecting. The e-book can include links to multimedia that is hosted by a library, archive, publisher, or other entity. This way, the e-book file remains small and nimble, and the book illustration becomes a window to a treasure trove of like materials. If you have access to the LCRM online pilot site, you can see links in some of the books that demonstrate this possibility. For example, in Kat Charron’s biography of Septima Clark, Freedom’s Teacher, there are links to Clark’s scrapbook at the Lowcountry Digital Library, hosted by the College of Charleston, and to audio files of interviews conducted with Clark during the 1970s, hosted by the UNC Library.
This distinction between collecting and connecting is significant for the Long Civil Rights Movement Project. In our pilot online collection, we have emphasized the potential for linking via a commenting feature where registered users can add links when related materials become available online, thereby enhancing the e-books in real time.
Perhaps the distinction will vanish in the future. First, e-books will contain both embedded content and outbound links. Next, perhaps they will update themselves over time, like software!
UNC Press kicked off a blog series last week considering SERVICE, the first of a series of murals on UNC’s campus that will commemorate the contributions of African Americans and Native Americans to the state. The first installment is complete, and seems to be attracting more positive attention than the university’s last attempt to commemorate African American contributions to campus: the controversial memorial to the slaves who helped construct it.
The first panel of SERVICE, by muralist Colin Quashie, includes an image of Harvey Beech, the first African American to graduate from UNC's law school. Photo from the School of Government.
They’ll be blogging weekly on the mural, panel by panel. Get started here and tune in on Tuesdays for more.
Kudos to the authors of To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America, Bob Korstad and Jim Leloudis. They have put together an ideal website for a book that is intended to do good work in the world.
See especially the tab connecting the site to our LCRM project; the social networking tools and invitation to N.C. Fund veterans to participate; the news feed on the subject of poverty from the U.S. Census Bureau; and the clear navigational tools throughout the site. Continue reading ‘Excellent New Book Website’
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’
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.