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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: April ::
Re: Academic Publishing
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0649  Thurssday, 3 April 2003

[1]     From:   David Gants <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 2 Apr 2003 09:48:05 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: 14.0461, Academic Publishing

[2]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Thursday, 03 Apr 2003 00:12:36 -0600
        Subj:   Library Cataloguing


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Gants <
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Date:           Wednesday, 2 Apr 2003 09:48:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: 14.0461, Academic Publishing

Hello all,

Concern over recent trends in academic publishing is widespread.  Those
who attended the Society for Textual Scholarship conference in NYC last
month heard about this issue at nearly every session (usually
accompanied by wails).  Indeed, I came away with the impression that the
conference theme was "What's Wrong With Academic Publishers."  Robin
Schulze delivered a scathing narrative of her experiences trying to
convince her publishers that a book is more than just a neutral
container for texts and that poetry doesn't necessarily have to be
always left-justified.  More than once someone would offer the opinion
that scholarly presses as we know them are dying if not already dead.

I'd like to hear more from readers of SHAKSPER-L about their work
developing alternatives to the traditional academic press.  Virginia's
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities has received funding
for an electronic imprint initiative
(http://www.iath.virginia.edu/imprint), and institutions located in
North America and the UK are offering graduate degrees in digital
editing and publishing.  What is the impression among the SHAKSPER-L
community of the value of these initiatives?

Even more important for the long-term health of scholarship, what are we
doing to manage the disciplinary change taking place as a result of the
accelerating adoption of computer and network technologies by the
academy?  The first steps toward a digital future have already been
taken.  SHAKSPER distributes scholarship electronically, Studies in
Bibliography is published in print and digital format (with some lag
between the print and the digital), the Bibliographical Society of
America recently announced its intention to publish scholarship on its
Web site, and Early Modern Literary Studies has been publishing on the
Web for eight years.  How are we integrating these resources (and the
broader scholarly and pedagogical implications behind them) into our
work?  Into our departmental cultures?

This summer I will be moving to the University of New Brunswick where we
are in the process of developing an MA in Electronic Editing and
Publishing, and we are struggling with a number of important issues:
What is the academic "core curriculum" for the degree? What will prepare
students for the changing publishing industry? Where should we focus our
recruiting efforts? How do we bring uncredentialed teachers from the
business world into the classroom? The discussion emerging from these
and other questions has so far produced little consensus.

I apologise for the length of this posting, especially as the
end-of-term crush approaches.  However, Sarah Stanton underscores an
important fact.  While academic presses need not outperform the Dow they
must at least break even (indeed, Cambridge Press annually subsidizes
the University Library from its revenues).  The current downward spiral
of library budgets spurs an upward spiral in book prices, and the two
feed on one another.  Absent some radical disruption in this
self-destructive relationship, how do we as teachers and scholars
respond?

d2

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Thursday, 03 Apr 2003 00:12:36 -0600
Subject:        Library Cataloguing

14.4061  Al Magary wrote,

"Libraries can take up to a year to get their books on the shelves"!
That alone is appalling.

Appalling, but common.  With mss. it is much more slow than with books.
I was once (summer, 1975) called in as consultant about a ms. that had
been in the Folger catalogue backup since the day the library opened
(1932, if I remember correctly).  Admittedly it was a 2200+ page ms. and
presented complicated problems, but a succession of Curators of MSS had
pushed it back in the backlog because they had so many easier shorter
mss to catalog and were waiting for a slow week (month?) that had never
come along, until August 1975.  One supposes that something like that
happens at a mini-level with books.  An understaffed Cataloguing Dept.
pushes the problem (new field) books onto a back shelf while they deal
with many books that are quicker and easier to work with.  And a year
goes by . . .

Cheers for libraries,
J.V.

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