print journal / digital world

I’ve been thinking recently about how print journals adapt to the digital world. My mulling was kicked into gear by two specific examples, that of Critical Inquiry and of Shakespeare Quarterly (full disclosure: I am an Associate Editor of SQ, but I am not involved with the online Forum). Critical Inquiry‘s new website includes the usual information (what’s in the current issue, what’s forthcoming, information about submitting). But it also includes online features that extend the print journal substantially. There’s new content that appears only online, including the “web exclusives” made up of bundles of essays, On the New Arab Spring and The Wire, and the CI blog, In the Moment. There is also previously printed content made (temporarily, I assume) accessible online, such as the debate with Jacques Derrida on South Africa, or the articles by various featured authors.

Shakespeare Quarterly‘s online Forum is less slick, but strives for more conversation with its readers. There has been printed content that appeared for free in the Forum (a Lee Edelman essay and a book review). But the bulk of the content so far has extended on what has appeared in the print journal: a conversation with Edelman, a debate between reviewer and author, a roundtable conversation between contributors to an issue.

It seems to me that these models raise questions about how a journal differentiates between exclusively online content and print content, about what type of interaction the web might productively offer a journal’s readers, and about the distribution of chosen content through open-access publication. There are surely other possibilities and questions that are going to arise as we look forward. I don’t think that we can assume that print journals will necessarily (or, at the least, immediately) become digital-born publications. So what opportunities and pitfalls should we be aware of as we think as publishers, editors, authors, librarians, and readers of scholarly journals in terms of what the digital world might offer in combination with print publication?

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how to handle non-textual content?

Related to New forms and media, anyone?, I’d like to discuss how to handle non-textual content. Most of us have got still images down in some fashion. But what about audio, video, and accessory content like survey instruments, datasets, and slide decks? Do you keep stream media yourself or let another service handle that? If so, which one?  Do you archive a copy in case the other service goes away? Do you have policies on accessory content?

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Session Proposal: Doing Academic Outreach

We are the believers: we know that a new era of scholarly communication is upon us, and that it requires digital writing and publishing platforms, a more open approach to peer review, and acknowledgement of the changing terrain of publishing markets and modes of access (online, open, or otherwise). We believe. We know.

But what about them?

This session proposal asks us to consider how we market new approaches to scholarly communication on campus. How we define “them” (and perhaps whether it’s problematic to be thinking in “us/them” terms). And, most importantly, what strategies are needed to shepherd and shape the move toward sustainable academic publishing.

As someone relatively new to the publishing world (I am a current CLIR Fellow at MPublishing, but I come from an English department as both a former grad student and a less former lecturer), I’m interested in how and where good outreach takes place. What I’ve found fascinating about the enterprise of academic publishing so far is that it requires a marketing cocktail that’s two parts simply exposin’ cool sh…stuff that already exists, and one part evangelism. With this recipe in mind, the guiding questions become: At what level(s) (student, faculty, department, library, etc.) do we begin the process of exposure and evangelism? And, in the granular world of the university, where should university presses (and library-based publishers) put their time and energy?

My hope is: 1) that participants with experience in creating successful outreach programs and events, or useful marketing and promotional materials, would be willing to have an open conversation about what works, what doesn’t, and why. And 2) that everyone at the table would have the opportunity to suggest good (and perhaps best) practices for doing and designing outreach strategies.

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Session Proposal: Professional Development for New Publishing Careers

I will readily admit the self-interested nature of this session proposal. As a relatively new librarian who suddenly finds herself working in the swiftly changing world of scholarly publishing, I’d like to have a conversation about professional development. As the scholarly publishing landscape changes around us, how do we acquire the new skills and knowledge needed to move forward and upward? How do we seek out mentors and an effective network? What role does graduate education (in information or other fields) play in this process? Or are their less formalized mechanisms for learning what need? What about opportunities for research, publication, and professional service? I think THATCamp is an excellent opportunity to discuss these issues with folks from a variety of institutions and professional orientations and at different stages in their careers.

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Session Proposal: Publishing Consultation Services

Starting from the assumption that library, publishing, and information technology professionals have valuable expertise to share with our home institutions (and perhaps beyond), I’m interested in exploring the idea of publishing consultation services. How do we create a formalized consultation service to meet the needs of our constituents? How do we market and assess such a service? How can we engage the full range of our publishing universe—including acquisitions editors and university press professionals, librarians, technologists, and others—to offer a comprehensive and responsive resource for publishing expertise? I’m envisioning this as an opportunity for exchange between folks who are already offering such a service as well as those who are hoping to create one.

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Info about the WordPress/Anthologize Workshop

Amanda and I have been scheming about the workshop on WordPress and Anthologize (we decided to combine them), and here’s roughly what we have in mind.

Amanda will start us off with a general introduction to WordPress, writing posts and pages, using tags and categories, plugins and themes, and other assorted WordPress goodness.

Then I’ll talk about Anthologize, and how it can be used in a web-first publishing model. To do that, I’ll be working from a WordPress installation that has Anthologize in it ready to go that Amanda has set up for us.

Since I want this to be as interactive and hands-on as possible, those of you who are thinking of coming to the Anthologize workshop and already familiar with WordPress can register on this Anthologize demo site, and do a small bit of homework: write a quick post about why you are planning to come to the WordPress/Anthologize workshop. Easy! And we’ll turn those posts into some Anthologized documents.

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Session proposal: So, You Want to Start a Journal!

My colleague, Linda Friend, and I are interested in leading a session that’s something akin to a “helpathon” but also, we hope, a discussion inviting folks to share their experiences in scholarly publishing. We would like to address consulting with faculty who come to us with ideas for starting journal publications, including conference proceedings. Our session idea is motivated by the fact that at the Penn State Libraries, we have been fielding more inquiries this year than in recent years about journal publishing. As demand from faculty for help with, and guidance on, publishing journals increases, we are also intent on being consistent in what we tell them in a consultation. While we have a checklist of discussion items we try to make sure we touch on with faculty, we’re eager to hear from others who have also been doing this work. What are some best-practice approaches to talking with faculty about publishing a scholarly journal? What resources should we cover in a consultation – i.e., should we talk about not only what the library might or does offer but also scholarly society options, Project Muse, Open Journal Systems hosting option, etc? Has anyone gone through the process of selecting an external vendor such as OJS or BePress? If you’re a faculty member, what do you want to know or find out in consultation with a librarian? How much do domain differences matter in dispensing guidance? How do you talk about roles, service levels, content, peer-review (when applicable), the editorial process, and marketing? When do you talk about these topics? Come brainstorm with us!

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New forms and media, anyone?

Especially given the mix of publishing and library types that a few people have already mentioned, I’d like to see if this question has legs:

What are we publishing/putting on our shelves, and are they the right things?

In part, I’m thinking here of Kindle Singles, which seem to take advantage of new technologies to aim for a form that’s not quite book form. Hacking the Academy and other awesomeness from Univ. of Michigan Press (hi Shana!) and others are also poking around the question of new and different kinds of things to publish.

So, anyone want to tackle the question of whether libraries could better serve their visitors with things other than books and journal subscriptions? What are those things, and why aren’t they there? What might need to happen to get more publishers (or others!) publishing these mystical, unicorn-like things?

(Or is this already happening, and I’m just in the dark about it? :) )

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Session Proposal: Professional Cultures

[Note:  I'm proposing this session with Monica McCormick]

The organizers planned this event with the hope that we could attract both library-types and publisher-types to the meeting. We weren’t sure whether that was likely, and among the impediments we worried about were basic issues of professional culture. The library community has become familiar with the unconference approach, but not the publishing community. Would the approach be off-putting? Did librarians and publishers travel professionally for the same reasons?

Some of us have had the opportunity to take part in publisher/library collaborations, or work in both sectors. Differences in professional and work cultures are frequently apparent in those collaborations, but are often reduced down to a basic opposition: publishers have to generate revenue and librarians generally don’t. But does that adequately explain us? Is that enough information to navigate collaborations?

We propose a discussion session to reflect more critically on the organizational and professional cultures of academic libraries and academic publishers. Can we move beyond the revenue issue to explore how we do our work, how we conceive of our professional identities, how we define career trajectories and professional development? Can we identify areas of commonality, or identify approaches, concepts, values in our professional cultures that are potentially valuable to the other?

This is a soft-sounding topic, but the proposers are not touchy-feely types. Both hugging and throwing things are out of bounds for this session.

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What’s your digital text workflow?

We all publishing online in some form, right?  Or even if we’re not, we’ve all got some sort of workflow that allows for output in various formats.  Do you use some form of XML, or are you in the “Start with the Web” camp?  If you use XML, which flavor(s)?  How did you choose it/them?  What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages to what you chose?  If you were building a workflow from scratch, what would you do differently?

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