Little Reviews

On Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound, by Lori Emerson

On Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound, by Lori Emerson

In Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound, Lori Emerson takes contemporary interface designers and their drive toward transparency to task. She questions the validity of seamless connection, an occasional side effect of ubiquitous computing — why would we want to be unaware of the many ways that computers, networks, and algorithms are shaping our lives, decisions, and interactions? Emerson frames her study through the concept of readingwriting: “the practice of writing through the network, which as it…

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On “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative,” by John Maxwell, Alessandra Bordini, and Katie Shamash

On “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative,” by John Maxwell, Alessandra Bordini, and Katie Shamash

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported 13 monograph-focused grants in 2014-15, and John Maxwell, Alessandra Bordini, and Katie Shamash were tasked with reporting on each of these initiatives. “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative” is the report that summarizes their findings after studying each funded project and discussing it with project leads. Of note, the authors organize the projects into 4 unique categories: 1) Studies of monograph publishing processes and economics; 2) Projects…

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On “The Costs of Publishing Monographs: Toward a Transparent Methodology,” by Nancy Maron, Kimberly Schmelzinger, Christine Mulhern, and Daniel Rossman

On “The Costs of Publishing Monographs: Toward a Transparent Methodology,” by Nancy Maron, Kimberly Schmelzinger, Christine Mulhern, and Daniel Rossman

Although there are various opinions on how best to fund scholarly communication in general and open access publication in particular, some key data regarding the actual cost of knowledge production is missing. In their study “The Costs of Publishing Monographs: Toward a Transparent Methodology,” Nancy Maron, Kimberly Schmelzinger, Christine Mulhern, and Daniel Rossman tackle this issue, with a focus on monographs. Their tri-partite goal is to: provide a comprehensive list of all of the activities needed in order to produce…

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On “The Future of The Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” by Michael A. Elliott

On “The Future of The Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” by Michael A. Elliott

The majority of conversations around open access scholarly communication centre on the academic article as the research output in question. This is the case for a variety of reasons:  there are many more academic articles published annually than monographs or other research output; articles are the units of the serial crisis; the transition from toll access to OA seems most feasible with articles because of relatively low production costs, etc. In “The Future of The Monograph in the Digital Era:…

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On “The Future of Scholarly Communications,” by David De Roure

On “The Future of Scholarly Communications,” by David De Roure

The transitional state of scholarly communication due to increasingly networked ways of working has been an oft-discussed topic over the past 30 years or so. In “The Future of Scholarly Communications,” David De Roure presents his own take on the subject. De Roure makes the standard gestures toward the Philosophical Transactions, the early development of the Internet at CERN, and the rise of citizen science and social media. He also reiterates a common question: “is [the traditional] model of scholarly…

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On “Traversing the Book of MPub: An Agile, Web-first Publishing Model,” by John Maxwell and Kathleen Fraser

On “Traversing the Book of MPub: An Agile, Web-first Publishing Model,” by John Maxwell and Kathleen Fraser

John Maxwell and Kathleen Fraser propose that publishing should start on the web in their article “Traversing the Book of MPub: An Agile, Web-first Publishing Model,” published in the Journal of Electronic Publishing. They suggest that contemporary publishing is mainly born digital anyways — rarely does an author write on paper, then undergo a publication process dedicated to preserving the printedness of the written piece. Rather, most authors create digital artifacts, and publishers subject these artifacts to automated, desktop, and…

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On “The Object and the Process; or, Take This Book and Click It!” by Darcy Cullen

On “The Object and the Process; or, Take This Book and Click It!” by Darcy Cullen

E-books have been a game changer for scholarly communications, and academic publishers have, perhaps, been the most affected by their development and popularity. In “The Object and the Process; or, Take This Book and Click It!,” UBC Press acquisitions editor Darcy Cullen explores how book production has been affected by the digital turn. Although she suggests that e-book uptake was slow at first, it has now reached an undeniable degree of prevalence and can no longer be ignored. E-books offer…

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On “Editorial Workflows for Multimedia-Rich Scholarship,” by Cheryl E. Ball and Douglas Eyman

On “Editorial Workflows for Multimedia-Rich Scholarship,” by Cheryl E. Ball and Douglas Eyman

Cheryl E. Ball and Douglas Eyman are both editors with the journal Kairos, and it is from this position that they write in “Editorial Workflows for Multimedia-Rich Scholarship.” Ball and Eyman point out that there is a steady increase in multimedia content in scholarly publishing, but this movement toward media richness has not necessarily been followed by appropriate workflow practices and standards. In response to this, Ball and Eyman share their knowledge of “webtexts” and their publication (separated into two…

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On “Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read,” by Alexandra Alter and Karl Russell

On “Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read,” by Alexandra Alter and Karl Russell

In the short New York Times article, “Moneyball for Book Publishers: A Detailed Look at How We Read,” Alexandra Alter and Karl Russell examine Jellybooks, an analytics company that specializes in tracking reader behaviour with e-books. The big e-book retailers like Amazon already use this sort of technology in their e-readers, Alter and Russell explain. Publishers without their own specific e-readers have, until now, not been able to compete with this sort of data-driven marketing. Through consensual reading trials, Jellybooks…

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On “Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age,” by Laura Mandell

On “Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age,” by Laura Mandell

In Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age, Laura Mandell contends with the form and function of the book (and especially the book of literary or cultural criticism) as well as the shift from a print-based to electronic-based humanities. She suggests that it is timely to critically engage with the academic book as universities and their outputs increasingly move online. In this sense, Mandell’s topic is akin to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s in Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future…

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