Director, JSTOR Labs
Director, Press; Associate University Librarian
University of Michigan
Director, Scholarly Communications Office
Associate University Librarian for Collections and Services, Interim
Monographs are increasingly making the print-to-digital shift that journals started twenty years ago, yet many of the popular platform options for accessing scholarly books simply mirror the existing discovery structure for journals: books are presented as a sequential list of “journal article”-sized chapter files for downloading, a practice that “journal”-izes the book and arguably fails to take full advantage of the rich long-form argument that unfolds across chapters. In some cases monographs are also starting to morph into long form works of digital scholarship that could never be represented on the printed page; a phenomenon that not only presents technology challenges but also impacts publisher processes and workflows.
This session brings together several initiatives that are exploring the evolution of the monograph: (1) JSTOR Labs, an experimental platform development group, convened at Columbia University by a group of scholars, librarians, and publishers in October 2016. Together, they tackled this design question: if we applied data visualization and design thinking techniques to the existing corpus of digitized monograph files, how could we improve the discovery and user experience for scholars, students, and general readers? The first presentation will discuss the design principles and challenges that the expert group identified, demonstrate the working prototype created during a “flash build” at Columbia in November by JSTOR Labs, and explain how CNI attendees and others can take advantage of this openly available development. The lean, user-oriented product design process used for this project will also be outlined; a design process that any library or publisher can take advantage of for their own technology and innovation projects. (2) Emory University and the University of Michigan are working together on interrelated projects supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that explore how publishers can best support and sustain digital scholarship. Emory is leading a project to create a “Model Contract for Digital Scholarship” that can be used to set out roles and responsibilities around the selection, production, marketing, and preservation of a publication that takes full advantage of digital affordances, including open access. Michigan is developing a publishing platform optimized for digital scholarship, Fulcrum, built on the Hydra/Fedora framework. To ground the conversation, a concrete example of one new work of digital scholarship published by University of Michigan Press will be presented (“A Mid-Republican House from Gabii”). This is a multimodal work that cannot be presented in print and involves integrated narrative, datasets, and 3D models.