I want to make sure to pass along items of interest that surfaced during my summer hiatus. For example, on August 1, 2013, the Press of the Information Delivery Services (IDS) Project, a resource-sharing cooperative of New York public and academic libraries, published an open access e-book entitled Library Publishing Toolkit, edited by Allison P. Brown, et al. (with a Forward by Walt Crawford). The 401 page book is available as a free download here (PDF).
This book is a positive resource for those seriously inclined not to follow Dorothea Salo’s (satirical) advice in “How to Scuttle a Scholarly Communication Initiative” (that I referenced in my last post), and it falls in the same vein of several of my previous posts (such as here and here) covering the “library as publisher” movement.
Library Publishing Toolkit is divided into two parts, focusing on public (Part 1) and academic (Part 2) libraries. Regarding the academic library context (which gets majority attention in the book), topics addressed include:
- Trends & Essentials in Scholarly Publishing
- Publishing Books & E-books
- Library as Journal Publisher: Organizational Aspects of Journal Publishing
- Library as Journal Publisher: The Faculty-Led, Library-Supported Journal
- Library as Journal Publisher: Student Research Journals
- Libraries Publishing Other Original Content
- Publishing in the Archives
- Consortia & Inter-Organizational Cooperation
Under each of these topics are several chapter essays offering case studies, best practices, real-world experience, and practical advice.
Why are libraries getting into publishing? A cynic might say this is a just another attempt by libraries (along with their coffee shops, video game rooms, and beanbag chairs) to claim continuing relevance in a time when print collections are seeing declining use, and digital packages from commercial publishers and vendors are nominally deemed “library resources” only because they pass through the library website or are paid for from the library budget. Cyril Oberlander, library director of the Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo, responds in the Introduction to the book by suggesting that publishing is a natural extension of a core library value and a long-held library tradition:
Library publishing is well defined by the Library Publishing Coalition in this volume on page 370 as a “set of activities led by… libraries to support the creation, dissemination, and curation of scholarly, creative, and/or educational works.” The mission of library publishing services is based on a core value of libraries: knowledge sharing and literacy are an essential public good. Libraries have been challenged in this mission as publishers develop content delivery platforms that focus on direct sales to customers. By developing library publishing services, libraries curate options for authors and readers that are missing from today’s publishing market. Between commercial and self-publishing, there is a niche for authors and readers that can provide a winning solution to each. This solution can preserve public access to knowledge, and compensate authors who provide open or affordable access to their works.
Library publishing service models closely parallel a long library tradition: connecting author and reader. We do this, not simply by selecting and housing books, but by providing services to authors to publish their work to reach readers across the globe. … This seemingly significant role shift is primarily one of new workflow. We often assist authors with research, citation management, or copyediting services. Increasingly, academic librarians are assisting faculty with the production of alternative textbooks or digital scholarship,… In addition, because we are keenly aware of the market for new books and reader services, we are well-positioned to market the books we help authors create. We are experts at metadata and cataloging, and those skills are integral to facilitating the creation, marketing, and access of new works. Our digital libraries are moving beyond digital copies of content in public domain, and swiftly moving towards content our community creates and cares about. (pp. xv-xvi, emphasis mine)
I have not yet had time to delve deeply into the book, but browsing through the chapter contents suggest this will be an informative and useful volume for any library looking at expanding into publishing services.
Open Monograph Press
I found it of particular interest that IDS Project Press utilized Public Knowledge Project’s recently released Open Monograph Press (OMP) open source platform software to publish the Library Publishing Toolkit e-book. Public Knowledge Project is well known for the development of the Open Journal Systems (OJS) open source journal publishing platform, which is used by thousands of open access journals world-wide. By all accounts OMP will also prove to be a robust publishing platform for e-books. Through it PKP aims to make online publishing of monographs as accessible to scholar and library publishers as it has for journals. Be sure to read the chapter in Library Publishing Toolkit by the folks over at PKP (Simon Fraser University and Stanford University) entitled “The Public Knowledge Project: Open Source e-Publishing Services for Your Library” (pp. 359-66).