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By Sylvia K. Miller

Many thanks to our AAUP colleagues who sent positive comments and thoughtful questions in response to our announcement of the enhanced e-book version of Freedom’s Teacher:  The Life of Septima Clark by Katherine Mellen Charron. In this blog post, I’d like to review briefly some of the aspects of the enhanced e-book production process that were new to us.

Author’s voice, multiplied.  At our invitation, the author provided extended captions for 19 of the enhancements, or 20% of the total.  The author’s voice now appears in the book in three layers: (1) in the audio, in the role of interviewer; (2) in the finished biographical narrative; (3) in the extended captions, which might be said to mediate between the first two.  She is slightly embarrassed when she hears her own voice in the audio; nevertheless, she is interested in the ways in which the enhanced e-book reveals the historian’s research process to readers, especially students of history.  One enhancement is a map, based on her notes from reviewing the 1910 census, on which she has marked the race of Clark’s neighbors in Charleston.  The map connects the raw census data with the finished narrative, in which the author states that Clark’s was a mixed-race neighborhood.  We toyed with a possible headline, “Historian at Work,” which we did not include but which might describe all of the enhancements.

Digitization.  Ideally the author’s materials would become a digital archive at a collaborating institution during production of the book.  However, in this demonstration project, the author had not yet decided where to donate her research materials, including 13 taped interviews.  Making do with the situation, we borrowed her stack of cassette tapes and digitized them in the media lab at UNC’s undergraduate library.  This took about 20 hours of staff time, spread over a couple of weeks, that we were able to justify under the umbrella of the Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement project.

Publisher-archive partnership.  Septima Clark’s papers are housed at the Avery Center for African American Research and Culture at the College of Charleston.  Recognizing the potential of the enhanced e-book to bring  the Center’s collections to the attention of a wider audience, the archivists granted permission for use of the materials that the author had identified and, with the support of the college’s Lowcountry Digital Library, digitized them.  The Center’s archivists were enthusiastic partners and even rediscovered in their holdings an interview with Clark that the author had not previously heard.  The collaboration is formally acknowledged on the title page of the enhanced e-book, and links to the Center’s website are included in the captions.

Technology.  The technology that we used was fairly simple; new standards from Barnes & Noble and Amazon allowed us to avoid having to use or write special software.  Starting with an Epub file, we inserted outbound links in the form of DOIs and URLs.  We inserted new content in an appendix and created internal navigation via HTML links inserted by hand; the audio content was in MP3 form.   (See the contact information below if you would like more detail.)

Audio excerpts.  Cutting the excerpts from the long interviews took only a few hours.  However, choosing and marking the excerpts to be cut took another several hours.  We did it the old-fashioned way, by reviewing transcripts together with the author, who bracketed chosen passages with a pencil.  Once all the MP3 audio files were included in the Epub file, some work had to be done to even out the sound volume.  The very best interview with Clark is, ironically, the one with the most ambient noise; perhaps more experienced sound engineers could have removed some of it.

Ellipsis.  In a couple of cases, the transcripts of interview excerpts included ellipsis points where the author had asked that we skip a digression in the conversation.   However, at first the digitally spliced-together audio did not indicate an ellipsis; this is a minor point, but it seemed to cross a line of scholarly integrity.  Playing around with “Garage Band,” a program that comes automatically loaded into a Mac laptop, we devised a swift clock-ticking sound to indicate the ellipsis.  We hope that people will know instinctively what it is when they hear it.

Permissions database.  Once you have more than a dozen or so items needing permission, it’s useful to switch from a spreadsheet to a database.  We set up a FileMaker database so that we could easily filter the growing list of items for data such as format, source, permission cleared/not cleared, location in the book (we were trying to balance enhancements across the book), and conveniently write captions and credit lines while referring to the descriptive and rights information on the same screen.  We were able to export reports for the author in Word (she did not want a spreadsheet) and, later on, export a captions manuscript for editing.

Navigation and usability testing.  I hardly need to point out that traditional navigational tools in print books such as tables of contents, running heads, numbered notes, and indexes have not needed usability testing in principle for a century or more.  However, our decision to group the enhancements in an appendix, list them in the front matter, and link to both of these added front and backmatter elements from the text was a new use of old tools, and we wanted to make sure that what we had done was clear.  Testing a prototype, the author’s graduate students gave us more than a dozen suggestions for changes, mostly links that would ease navigation among the new parts of the book.

Outbound links.  I have written about what I call a portal book, an e-book transformed by outbound links into an interface to a body of digital information. However, only 18, or 19%, of the enhancements in Freedom’s Teacher are accompanied by links to an online collection in which the item can be viewed in the context of other like items.  Although most of the remaining 77 enhancements carry links to the archive’s website, the archival items themselves are not yet viewable online.  We gave the full URLs as well as other identifying information about the online archives, so that if the links cease functioning, the reader can perform a Google search and find the archives anyway.  This is explained in a “Publisher’s Note” in the front matter.   The DOIs in the bibliography are the only outbound links guaranteed to be permanent, although of course there are very few because publishers are just beginning to register their books with CrossRef.  We hope that the inclusion of outbound links inspires archives to make more collections available online and book publishers to join CrossRef.  Maybe even archives will begin to use DOIs for archival items!  (This idea has been discussed but not enacted anywhere yet, as far as I am aware.)

Digital divide.  Despite her enthusiasm about the enhanced e-book project, the author does not own an iPad.  UNC Press owns one shared iPad, on which we loaded our corrected file for the author.  We lent this to her for a week.  She found, as we had in house, that checking the enhanced e-book demands time and patience, in order to check 60 audio examples (totaling 3 hours and 18 minutes of audio) for accuracy, along with the transcripts.  With the original print page numbers omitted in the digital book, it was a puzzle deciding how the author would notate corrections; after asking her to refer to the digital page locations—and to refrain from changing the type-size display, or the book would reflow and the page locations would all change, too—we realized it would have been better to have asked her to use the last eight words of the previous paragraph as a marker, because a phrase is easy to search.

Schedule and timing.  We produced this retrospective enhanced e-book in an intensive two months.  Of course it would be helpful to have more time; the best scenario, we believe, would be to plan the enhanced version along with the traditional version, from the start.

Video demonstration.  In order to explain the features of the enhanced e-book to readers who have not yet purchased it for a Nook , iPhone, or iPad, it was important to demonstrate it in a short YouTube video. We asked our colleague Seth Kotch of the Southern Oral History Program to narrate and use oral-history equipment for digital video.  He rigged up a stand for the iPad with two chairs and managed to film it without an opaque glare on the glass.  He followed our storyboard but altered the words in minor ways that felt more natural.  Subsequently the audio and video were subjected to a number of adjustments as we worked for a smooth flow of pictures and sound.  As only the second video that we have ever produced, it may have an amateur flavor which we hope is appealing.

Guidelines for authors.  Based on our experience with this project, we have drafted some guidelines for authors about selecting and preparing multimedia files for an enhanced e-book and incorporating callouts in the manuscript.  We are delighted that one of the UNC Press acquisitions editors requested this document for an author who is currently writing her book.

 Freedom’s Teacher is not UNC Press’s first enhanced e-book.  Our first was also one of Amazon’s first, Give My Poor Heart Ease:  Voices of the Mississippi Blues, originally a hardcover trade book that included discs tucked into envelopes in the back cover.  The Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement project team made a video demonstration for it that was key to our success in bringing the author of Freedom’s Teacher and the archivists at the Avery Research Center on board to create the Freedom’s Teacher enhanced e-book.

We hope that the foregoing notes are of general interest, and we welcome specifically technological questions on the AAUP production listserv; sent directly to Tom Elrod, Digital Production Specialist, UNC Press (telrod@email.unc.edu); or sent to me, Sylvia K. Miller, Director, Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement (skm@email.unc.edu).

As the first installment in my series on digital standards for the Digest, I asked Carol Anne Meyer, the Director of Business Development and Marketing for CrossRef , to answer a few questions about digital object identifiers.  With several ebook initiatives going live that are geared specifically toward the delivery of content that is accessed through academic libraries, it is critical to apply a standards-based approach to the stable identification of digital book content to enable increased discoverability and usage.  This piece is intended to give AAUP members (and others) a basic overview of the DOI, and I encourage those who are interested in a deeper dive into the topic of DOIs to take a look at some of CrossRef’s recorded webinars.

1) Simply put what is a DOI and what purpose does it serve?

CM: A DOI is a Digital Object Identifier. It serves as a unique and persistent identifier or address for digital content on the web. DOIs remain the same even if the underlying address or URL for the content changes. The primary purpose that DOIs serve for scholarly content is to enable reference linking so that readers can click from the references of a scholarly monograph, article, or reference work directly to the content being referenced. DOIs also support services like Cited-By Linking, where users can see other relevant content that cites a particular work. Many book publishers are increasingly concerned about the discoverability of their content. DOIs can increase traffic to book content through reference citations, through secondary databases, and increasingly through third party discovery tools that use CrossRef metadata.

2) What is CrossRef’s role in the assignment and maintenance of DOIs, and what are the first steps publishers should take in setting up a relationship with CrossRef?

CM: The International DOI Foundation (IDF) appoints registration agencies (RAs) to assign DOIs. CrossRef is the oldest and largest IDF RA. About 94% of all the DOIs that have been assigned have come through CrossRef. CrossRef DOIs are DOIs assigned to scholarly publications:  books, book chapters, reference entries, journal articles, conference proceedings, reports, theses, data sets, and even components like individual tables or graphics.

CrossRef maintains a web service that publishers use to deposit bibliographic metadata, including the URL and the DOI of their content. CrossRef works with the handle infrastructure at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) to make the DOI live, which means that a user clicking on a DOI link is redirected to the URL deposited at CrossRef. CrossRef publishers promise to update their metadata if it changes so that any existing references to the DOI still work even if the URL changes.

CrossRef also provides lookup services so that publishers and affiliated organizations can put CrossRef DOI links into their services and tools. These links increase traffic to the member publishers’ content.

Publishers and affiliates add DOI links to the references in their content by submitting metadata queries to the CrossRef system. They get back the DOI that they can use to link to the content of that reference.

CrossRef is a not-for-profit trade association of publishers. In order to participate in the CrossRef DOI system, publishers need to become members of the association. This entails signing a membership agreement and paying an annual fee based on publishing revenue. The membership agreement lists the obligations of all CrossRef members. CrossRef is not just a technical linking solution, it is also a social contract among publishers, and that is why it works.

 3) Does a DOI differ from a URL, and if so, how?

CM: Yes. A DOI redirects users to the URL where content lives on the web. DOIs are designed to be persistent. Imagine that you are a book publisher, and you decide to host your book content directly on your own web site. The full text of each book has its own URL. This is fine. But then in a few years, you decide that the web site you created is starting to look a little dated, and you choose to migrate all of your content to a newly-formed multi-publisher consortium of ebooks, and you want to shut down your old content site. If you participate in the CrossRef DOI system, you would not have disseminated the actual URLs of your content publically; instead, people would use CrossRef DOIs as the web address. So you can move your content to JSTOR, or Project Muse, or Cambridge University Press, or Oxford University Press, or Highwire or some other hosting platform. As long as you update the new URL at CrossRef, everybody who ever had the DOI for the content can still access that same content without getting a URL not found error message.

You may see DOIs expressed in the form “doi:10.xxxx/kjlkjljlj’ on the web. We have recently revised our CrossRef DOI display guidelines to encourage people to always display CrossRef DOIs as URLs, for example in the form “http://dx.doi.org/10.xxxx/kjkjlili” We have made this change so that people who may not know what DOIs are can still use them by just clicking on the link, or right clicking to copy the link.  The change also makes it easy for machines to recognizes a DOI and to access services like linked data available through CrossRef. And displaying DOIs in the http:/dx.doi.org URL format will also ensure that they work on web-aware mobile devices.

4) Can a DOI be assigned to content that’s hosted on more than one platform?  If so, how does that work?

CM: Yes. CrossRef supports Multiple Resolution for CrossRef DOIs. The publisher works with our technical staff to create an interim page that pops up when a user clicks a link. That interim page gives the user the choice of platforms to access the data.

Another solution that helps users find the appropriate copy of a document hosted in multiple places is library link resolvers. Both Serials Solutions and ExLibris are CrossRef Service providers, and they use CrossRef DOIs to direct users of their systems to the local copy of the content based on a library’s holdings.

5) Should a publisher assign and deposit DOIs themselves, or should they utilize a service provider to assign DOIs on their behalf?  Are there pros and cons to letting someone else assign and deposit your DOIs?

CM: The answer depends on the technical expertise and resources available to the publisher. For significant volumes of content, publishers interact with the CrossRef system through batch XML file transfers. We have found that for some smaller publishers, this can be a burden. CrossRef does have more manual tools such as our Web Deposit Form, Guest Query, and Simple Text Query forms. This requires that somebody sit at the form and copy and paste data to and from the tool.

If this is all too much, publishers may choose to work with a Sponsoring Publisher (this is a member of CrossRef that is also authorized to deposit and query on behalf of other publishers) or a CrossRef Service Provider (a vendor that provides CrossRef services to publishers). The advantage to working with one of these organizations is that they have experience in working with CrossRef and they understand the guidelines and obligations. That expertise may come at a cost, so publishers will have to weigh the cost and benefits of doing it themselves against that of using a third party. We have many publishers using both approaches that are happy with their arrangements.

6) How are DOIs used by the research community?  What is the role of the DOI in bibliographic citations?

CM: The most basic use of CrossRef DOIs by researchers is to click on them and be directed to the content they represent. An increasing number of authors, based on recommendations from the major style guides, are including DOIs in their citation lists, in order to help with accurate production, and ultimately to ensure readers can find the referenced content.

Some more innovative uses are also emerging. The Public Library of Science (PLoS) relies heavily on CrossRef DOIs to generate their Article Level Metrics. Secondary database include CrossRef DOIs in their citation records to enable links to the full text. Paper and citation management services like Talis, Mendeley, EasyBib and PubGet use CrossRef DOIs to help researchers located and link to relevant information.

Next year, CrossRef will roll out a service called CrossMark which will use the CrossRef DOI to help researchers discover if updates have been made to an item of scholalry content and where to find information about such an update.

7) What have the challenges been in maintaining the DOI standard over the last few years, and are there any aspects of the standard that are evolving that presses should be aware of? 

CM: The DOI has been a National Information Standards Organization (NISO) standard for many years, and more recently has been approved as an International Standards Organization (ISO) standard. These standards have been very stable.

As I mentioned, CrossRef has recently changed its display guidelines. This recommendation has been the first change of this nature in the history of CrossRef’s existence. We anticipate that it will take CrossRef members and affiliates some time to change their systems to support this new recommendation, and we plan to work closely with the style guides so that they too can update their recommended citation formats to be consistent with these guidelines.

The biggest challenge to the success of the CrossRef DOI system is probably the compliance of the individual publisher members. Most of the 50 million CrossRef DOIs are stable and direct as they should, due to the cooperation of the publishers who own the content. Our challenge now is to provide better support to smaller and less technically savvy publishers to ensure that every CrossRef DOI remains stable and useful.

8) Do you have any advice for book people who are just getting started?

CM: Remember that metadata is marketing. Laura Dawson of Firebrand Technologies, and a book metadata expert, recently compared good metadata with dental floss. It isn’t romantic, she said, but it makes everything work. Scholarly book metadata should include CrossRef DOIs at the title level, the chapter level, and the reference entry level to improve its importance and visibility in the scholarly communications environment. Services such as the recently announced Book Citation Index from Thomson Reuters make it clear that the better the metadata, the more accessible the content. This is true now, and it will become even more important in the future.

Katie Sweeney, assistant marketing manager at Fordham University Press, attended an ebooks seminar recently, courtesy of Brenna McLaughlin of AAUP and Ted Hill, President of THA Consulting. I asked her to write up her notes for a blog post to Digital Commons. Instead of rehashing her notes verbatim, Katie came up with this clever assessment. I think she hit the nail right on the head. We have been having a lot of fun assigning names to the different types of people in our office. Enjoy!

If I was a Director of a small press and I attended the Publisher’s Launch Conference: eBooks for Everyone Else, I’m not sure I would have taken the leap to create an eBooks Program.  However, that’s why organizations have different types of people.

  • You need the “visionary”—the person who sees the big picture.
  • You need the “techie”—the person who is willing to learn the technology, or at least understand enough of it to make an informed decision on the conversion company to hire.
  • You need the “negotiator”—the person who can get a contract on the table, bargain for better terms, and sign on the dotted line.
  • You need someone who’s “OCD.” They’re the person who will care enough about nitpicking every tiny piece of metadata and scrutinize the finished eBook.
  • You need the “worker bee,” although an entire beehive would be useful. This will be the person who knows the theory of how the workflow should operate, but will actually execute it.
  • You need the “naysayer.” The one who hates change and will be taken kicking and screaming into eBooks. They will be a hindrance, but they will probably spot half a dozen problems that you didn’t anticipate. Foresight is key.
  • You need the “scrooge” to nickel and dime your budget because contrary to popular belief, eBooks don’t just appear from established content. They’re another production stream in their own right.
  • You need everyone else who makes a regular book happen, make it happen for an eBook.

Once you’ve identified these people in your organization, the best thing you can do is educate them because there’s a lot to learn.

Like everything, there are advantages and disadvantages to eBooks. There is 24/7 availability. eBooks are never out of stock and there are no returns. Publishers can experiment with price points, create enhancements to files, or rapidly respond to marketplace events. Bonus: there is no physical inventory to ship or store. On the flip side, the disadvantages include, but are not limited to dealing with DRM, the technical file delivery, piracy, quality assurance, fluid business models, and trying to compute royalties.

Another hurdle is the change in the editorial and production workflows. Will you use an XML workflow at the front end of the editing process? In simplistic terms, this means creating a template and guidelines that copyeditors will use for tagging the manuscript. Further down the line, this will rear its head in production. You are now focused on all things “e,” but can your printers accept these files to make a print book? It’s a give and take between the print business we still need to do and eBusiness we want to do.

Publishers Launch also included some great nitty-gritty topics, such as metadata for eBooks. If you shop on Zappos, you know the importance of locating a perfect kitten heels in black patent leather in less than 20 seconds. Finding your book needs to be that easy.

Books covers were also a source of discussion. Traditionally, a great cover was thought to draw people from 20 feet. Today, finding a good book online is more about search and discovery. A book cover may be the size of a postage stamp. For publishers, this might mean creating a cover for a print book and creating a cover that is smaller, yet still distinguishable online.

Digital Identifiers are also expanding. Besides ISBNs, there is the ISTC —the International Standard Text Code that is a unique identifier for text. That means it belongs to the textual work, not the edition of a book. It is assigned to related works of the same content. There is also the ISNI—the International Standard Name Identifier. It identifies public identities, such as authors making it easier to locate all titles that an author may publish, regardless of the publisher.

And, once you’ve got your eBook made, you’ve got to figure out how to distribute it. Are you doing it all inhouse? That means you need to make sure you have the right type of file and negotiated agreements with every company you want to sell to. Are you hiring a distributor that will take one file and send it to their existing distribution agreements? The variations on these questions are endless. You need to explore you options and find the best fit for your organization.

The bottom line is that creating eBooks will touch all areas of your organization. It infiltrates editorial, production, marketing and sales. It’s not a simple task. One person doesn’t make it all happen. It’s a coordinated group effort that requires a strong leader and a dynamic team. Always have meetings to regroup. You might get frustrated, but you can always improve. For a small organization it can be a challenge. Some days it’s Survivor: Fordham Press, but every once in a while you hit tropical island status. That’s the day you hang up your hammock and take out your Kindle, your Nook, or your iPad and just read.

Check out the blog at “Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement” for Sylvia Miller’s reflections on their recently-ended online pilot.

In the first of two posts, she writes:

After 14 months, the Long Civil Rights Movement Project’s pilot online collection officially closed its test period on July 18, 2011.  You can still see it at https://lcrm.lib.unc.edu/voice/works, although project staff will no longer grant premium access to the full text of the experimental site’s 87 titles (books, articles, papers, and reports) to those who register except by special request.  Registration will continue to give any user the ability to see open-access content and comment on it at the paragraph level.

The commenting feature was the focus of the experiment.  During the test period, the number of registered users grew beyond our expectations, finishing at 776.  The number of annotations contributed by users was also impressive, finishing at 607.

In addition to these valuable statistics, Miller shares other learnings from the pilot, including valuable information on contributor behaviors, use of archives in teaching, and enhanced e-books. In her second post, Miller links to a number of other projects also experimenting in the area of archives, enhanced e-books, and “portal books.”

One the eve of its annual conference, the Association of American University Presses has launched a redesigned website and released the results of its second digital book publishing survey in as many years. The press release announcing the report can be read here, and the report itself is available for download.

In addition to providing interesting statistical breakdown as to the number of presses participating in a wide variety of digital publication efforts, it also reveals the widespread (unavoidable?) use of digital technology in traditional print publishing, particularly print-on-demand.

For most presses  (53 of 71 who participated in the survey) revenue from sales of electronic editions remains below 3%. It will be interesting to see how/if that changes in the coming year, particularly since the percentage of presses now reporting as participating in site licenses to libraries has nearly doubled (from 34% in the 2009-2010 survey to 65% in the Spring 2011 survey).

Overall, finding a working business model and creating systems to best allocate limited resources remain the biggest obstacles faced by university presses when it comes to digital publishing. As the report clearly demonstrates, despite these concerns, AAUP member presses are actively and enthusiastically embracing the possibilities. And if history is any indicator, following this weekend’s annual conference, “The Next Wave: Toward a Culture of Collaboration,” that enthusiasm will be redoubled throughout the summer.

By Guest Blogger Lenny Allen

The title of the classic Philip K. Dick story asks whether androids dream of electric sheep. I don’t know the answer to that particular question, but I do know that we’re all–at this very moment, asleep or awake–dreaming of a digital monograph platform that is financially viable, intuitive, sustainable from the perspective of a rapidly shifting market environment, and adaptable enough to be able to meet both the short and long-term needs of scholarly research at all levels as well as the development of new business and acquisition models.

Our shared mission dictates that we disseminate scholarly content as widely as possible. But how best to fulfill this mission and meet the ongoing needs of academic research all while satisfying the above criteria? Simply publishing our content in electronic format is no longer enough.

Oxford Scholarship Online, launched nearly a decade ago and conceived of when ebooks were in what was then a virtually embryonic phase of development, has blazed a trail that is only now being followed in the marketplace. The use of XML and the precise nature of the text tagging it provided was an early and fundamental decision and has been instrumental to OSO’s success.

XML provides us the ability to do more than give users what is essentially a static “picture” of a book, offering instead a rich, robust text that meets the needs of scholarly research today and for the foreseeable future. In spite of all the rapid technological developments and the ensuing seismic shifts in the market, one thing has remained constant:  the nature and methodology of scholarly research. This is often lost in the clamor of our current discussion so it’s worth reminding ourselves from time to time that this is at the very heart of what we do and why we do it.

As OSO now evolves into University Press Scholarship Online and we begin the process of including other university press content on our platform, — see our recently launched pilot partner Fordham Scholarship Online–we’re more focused than ever on the viability of the monograph as a key medium of scholarly communication. The ability to conduct precisely targeted searches across multiple presses within the same platform is an exciting development and one that promises to do much in the way of advancing scholarly research.

XML is what makes that long-held dream a fully-functioning reality. Rather than merely replicating the confining linearity of the print book usage experience, XML instead offers accurate search-and-discoverability tools that greatly enhance research. Even in its latest incarnation, PDF cannot replicate the advantages provided by XML tagging, which identifies each piece of data and allows it to be found in the context of the search being made. By contrast, PDF searches are analogous to those made on the open web. Improvements made recently to PDF are all ‘bolt-on’ pieces of functionality applied to something which is intrinsically static. XML, in contrast, is designed from the ground up as a dynamic, repurposeable method of managing sophisticated data.

Students, researchers, and scholars are becoming ever more sophisticated consumers of electronic content. We need only look to the latest generation of discoverability services for evidence of the absolute importance of feature-rich metadata. In the newly dawning era of demand-driven acquisition (aka Patron Driven Acquisition) the discoverability of content has become of paramount importance. If the new formula for library acquisitions can be posited as “access = purchase,” no academic publisher can afford to exert less than a herculean effort at ensuring their content discoverability. The higher the quality of the XML tagging, the easier it becomes to discover the content users are looking for amid the ocean of online information, much of which is lacking in the authority guaranteed by the peer-review process.

OSO, UPSO, and all other Oxford online products have been built under the umbrella of a digital strategy that is in many ways dependent on the XML format. We continue to believe that will hold true going forward and that XML provides enormous benefits to researchers and consumers of scholarly content–our own and that of the presses with whom we partner on the UPSO platform.

Lenny Allen is Director of Sales, Wholesale & Online, Oxford University Press. More about University Press Scholarship Online can be found here.

Earlier today, the Association of American University Presses issued a report entitled Sustaining Scholarly Publishing: New Business Models for University Presses. More than a year in the making, and an excellent example of the kinds of cooperation among presses long fostered by the AAUP, it offers an in-depth look at a wide variety of experiments in various stages of implementation by a broad number of member presses.  It also provides a succinct overview of why academic publishers (still) matter in the academy, and according to at least one early reviewer, “It would be irresponsible for any university administrator with oversight of a press to fail to read this.” (Joe Esposito writing for the Scholarly Kitchen).

The release of the report is sure to generate much discussion. It also provides a springboard for the AAUP’s Digital Publishing Committee (Laura Cerruti, California, Chair; Emily Arkin, Harvard; Sharon Casteel, Texas; Krista Coulson, Wisconsin; Jake Furbush, MIT, Dennis Lloyd, Florida; Fred Nachbaur, Fordham, Patti O’Shea, Chicago; and Tony Sanfilippo, Penn State) to roll out the next phase of its communications plan for the AAUP membership.

For the past few months, we’ve been analyzing the results of last year’s electronic survey, and polling chairs of other AAUP committees to identify the issues most in the minds of AAUP members. For the next several months, we’ll host a series of guest blogs focused on broadly defined topics. For March, the theme is “New Business Models.”

Take some time (if you haven’t already) to read the report. Let us know if you want to learn more about any of these new models, and we’ll see if we can commission a posting from someone involved in the project. Several guests have already agreed to create short, informal blog posts about their experiments, and these will appear over the next few days. Feel free to respond with comments or questions, and at the end of the month we’ll endeavor to wrap things up with a Q&A posting.

Thanks for reading, and more soon!

Dennis Lloyd
University Press of Florida

There’s a very useful review of some of the various ebook apps available for the iPad by Glenn Fleishman over at TidBITS. It’s well worth a look.

Reading Books on the iPad: iBooks, Kindle, and GoodReader

Here’s part one of their two part video demo:

And here’s part two:

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