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White Paper on E-Book Technology and Production Live on ACLS History E-Book Project Website

This week the ACLS History E-Book Project (HEB) announced the online publication of a new white paper by Nancy Lin, Electronic Publishing Specialist, entitled, “Report on Technology Development and Production Workflow for XML Encoded E-Books.” The white paper documents in easily accessible terms the technical information and production processes behind the Project’s new frontlist titles.

While backlist titles use scanned images to allow for the cost-efficient publication of large groups of books at a time, the frontlist titles aim to use more robust and flexible technology to push beyond the simple digitization of the print book—to explore the limits of what an e-book can do. In order to accomplish this, the Project first had to create a process for developing new titles that was both cost-efficient and sustainable. By establishing a standardized workflow and a predictable schedule, the Project has done just that. For this reason, the white paper represents an accomplishment perhaps as great as any single title the Project will publish.

In making the white paper public, HEB hopes others will build on the Project’s innovations. Toward this end, the paper covers a range of topics including the reasons for using XML, details of e-book features and functions, costs of production, and innovative solutions for citation, structure, and navigation of online books. The ACLS History E-Book Project has garnered this experience by working on over 25 e-books with its group of participating university presses.

The white paper is available either as a PDF or in HTML:

For PDF version: http://www.humanitiesEbook.org/heb-whitepaper-1.pdf
For HTML version: http://www.humanitiesEbook.org/heb-whitepaper-1.html

For further information on subscriptions, please contact info@hebook.org.


ACLS History E-Book Project Revised Support Site Reflects Experience of First Year Online

The ACLS History E-Book Project marked its first year online with a substantially revised support website. The revised site, located at www.historyEbook.org, documents knowledge gained in the first year of the Project’s online existence and reflects a greater awareness of the e-book’s role in the changing world of historical scholarship.

The Project officially launched last year with over 500 titles in history chosen by historians for their continued relevance to the field; this month a second round of 275 books will be added to the collection. Over 160 institutions ranging from Ivy League universities to high schools have already subscribed, putting the Project well on its way to its stated goal of 200 subscribers. Lists of current and forthcoming titles as well as a list of subscribers are available on the revised site.

Also of note, a new Copyright and Fair Use page summarizes the results of several years’ experience acquiring electronic rights and developing consistent practice in this emerging publishing environment. The page provides links of interest to authors, learned societies, and others invested in both general copyright issues and in those pertaining specifically to e-books.

Even as the Project has been collecting books and selling subscriptions, the scholarly world has noted a marked change in the importance of the monograph due to recent developments in scholarly communication, the economics of university press publishing, and the re-emerging role of scholarly societies as publishers. The revised site reflects a new understanding of the e-book’s importance in the dissemination of scholarship in light of this change. Many historians, seeing a more effective means of sharing their work, are eager to take advantage of the new technology offered by the ACLS History E-Book Project. This year the first of the frontlist titles appeared, paving the way for the increasingly sophisticated “born digital” books already in the works for 2004. A new frontlist features page outlines the range of technology now at the disposal of historians, including zoomable image viewers, video and audio clips, and interactive maps and timelines.

For more information on the ACLS History E-Book Project, please contact info@hebook.org


Association for Asian Studies and African Studies Association Join ACLS History E-Book Project

Two ACLS constituent learned societies, the Association for Asian Studies and the African Studies Association, have recently joined the ACLS History E-Book Project to include 200 significant titles in the fields of African Studies and Asian Studies by June 2004. These societies will augment the Project’s initial working group of five ACLS learned societies, which includes the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Society for the History of Technology, the Middle East Studies Association, and the Renaissance Society of America.

Distinguished historians from these societies contributed to the initial collection of 500 titles, which went live on September 1, 2002 and represents the fields of American, European, the History of Technology, and Middle Eastern History. Titles for this ever-expanding collection of out-of-print and in-print books are selected for their continued importance to the field, both for research and for teaching purposes. The fully searchable collection is aimed at college and graduate students and scholars, and has additional potential on the secondary school level and in historical associations and museums.

These backlist titles provide a scholarly foundation for the new electronic books that will compose the Project’s frontlist. Through the creation of these books, scholars are encouraged to re-envision the creation and publication of historical works and to reconsider the traditional relationship between primary source materials and their own role in gathering, assessing, and interpreting these materials for the scholarly community. In addition, the development of the frontlist series furthers the electronic publishing knowledge and experience of all those involved—scholars, the ACLS, learned societies, and presses. The first of these groundbreaking frontlist books are scheduled to go live in spring 2003.

The ACLS History E-Book Project is funded by a $3-million, 5-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, but library subscriptions will assure the Project’s self-sufficiency well beyond the life of the grant. The 122 institutions that currently subscribe to the Project range from major research universities, such as Yale University and Harvard University, to small liberal arts schools, such as Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr. The New York Public Library’s Research Libraries have subscribed and there are plans to offer individual subscriptions through such learned societies as the Renaissance Society of America.

The African Studies Association (ASA), which joined the ACLS History E-Book Project in February 2003, was founded in 1957 as a non-profit organization with the design of bringing together people with a scholarly and professional interest in Africa. With 3,000 individual and institutional members, ASA is the leading North American organization promoting African studies.

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is a scholarly, non-political, non-profit professional association that seeks through publications, meetings, and seminars to facilitate contact and an exchange of information among scholars toward an increased understanding of East, South, and Southeast Asia.

For further information, please contact info@hebook.org.

rev. 9/13/10

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