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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: February ::
Call for Volunteers for SHAKSPER Book Review Panel
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0086  Monday, 11 February 2008

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Monday, February 11, 2008
Subject: 	Call for Volunteers for SHAKSPER Book Review Panel

Dear SHAKSPEReans,

I composed a message about establishing a Book Review Feature the other 
day, but somehow I seem not to have sent it to listserv for distribution 
or I neglected to follow the security procedures. Now I will have to 
reproduce from a faulty, short-term memory what I wrote earlier. Here goes.

In early September, I sent a message to the list inquiring about the 
possibility of establishing a Book Review Feature for SHAKSPER. The 
response to my inquiry was unanimously positive. Unfortunately, 
difficulties during the fall semester were responsible for my not being 
able to follow-up on the project. This spring semester I am on leave, so 
I hope that I will have more time, and I am consequently turning my 
attention back to the Book Review Feature.

What follows is my September message:

*****
Dear SHAKSPEReans,

A few years ago, to avoid having postings of a commercial nature on 
SHAKSPER, I developed, with the assistance of members of the Advisory 
Board and of the list itself, guidelines about announcing book releases. 
These guidelines stipulate that members and interested parties may make 
announcements about publications so long as these announcements are 
primarily informational, emphasizing details about the work's content. 
Such announcements may include links to sites that are promotional, but 
the announcements themselves should not appear as such. I have found 
these guidelines helpful, and now I would like to call upon members to 
assist me again.

Setting aside for a moment considerations about its success or failure, 
one reason I instituted the SHAKSPER Roundtable was as an effort to have 
SHAKSPER remain as a useful service to the Shakespearean academic 
community - to continue to evolve and not to ossify or stagnate. For 
similar reasons, I am considering adding a book-reviewing feature to 
SHAKSPER.

Over the years, discussions of new publications in the field have been 
an important component of our exchanges on this list. I thought that it 
might be appropriate to be more intentional about this aspect of our 
discourse.

One possibility might be to establish a small group of Book Review 
advisors, to whom I would forward requests that I receive to have a book 
reviewed or to generate a list of possible new publications to be 
reviewed for so-called "publication" on SHAKSPER. The members of this 
group would then make a request for reviewers and subsequently select 
someone to be awarded the task. The reviewer would then have time to 
read, consider, and write a thoughtful 500 to a 1000 word review for 
posting on the list and for archiving on a book review section of the 
web site. These reviews would then become the basis for further 
discussion threads about the work under consideration or its subject. We 
may even request from the publishers that a copy of the book to be 
reviewed be sent to the reviewer. These ideas are only some 
possibilities that have occurred to me and are not the product of deep 
reflection.

As a next step, let me request your private reactions to and thoughts 
about the possibility of our initiating a new feature for SHAKSPER 
dedicated to book reviews of works in our areas of interest.

Hardy M. Cook
Editor

*****
The next step is for request four to six volunteers who would agree to 
serve on the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel. My preference is that the 
members of this Panel be from academia, since the purpose of this 
feature is to enhance SHAKSPER's contribution to the academic community. 
I invite interested persons to send me an e-mail, and I will select 
members of the Panel from those who apply.

As I see it, the four main functions of the SHAKSPER Book Review Panel 
are to generate a list of books for review, to announce on SHAKSPER a 
Call for Reviewers, to select reviewers from those who express an 
interest, and to advise me prior to distribution on SHAKSPER if a review 
appears to me to be of questionable merit. This process is important 
since it insures that the reviewers have been selected through a 
peer-reviewed process and that reviews prior to "publication" will, if 
necessary, have been vetted by professionals, in all conferring an 
academic legitimacy on the undertaking.

Since I am painfully shy, my hope is that, at least, one of the members 
of the Panel will be outgoing enough to be willing to contact publishers 
to request review copies of the selected books. Once we are ready to get 
underway with this feature, I will also announce that SHAKSPER is 
accepting books for consideration for review. At some point, I still 
plan to incorporate SHAKSPER as a not-for-profit corporation so that I 
can accept contributions to cover any costs associated with this 
undertaking.

Once a reviewer has been selected, that person will have three to six 
weeks to write a 750 to a 1,000 word review that will first be 
distributed to members of the list in a daily digest and then will be 
archived on the fileserver with a link to the Book Review page off the 
SHAKSPER homepage. As I wrote in September, "These reviews would then 
become the basis for further discussion threads about the work under 
consideration or its subject."

Although I am requesting volunteers for the Panel to launch the SHAKSPER 
Book Review Feature, I still welcome any ideas that members might wish 
to pass on to me about this subject.

Best wishes,
Hardy M. Cook
Editor

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
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