past & future
This page provides an introduction to books, reports and
journals concerned with electronic publishing. Other parts
highlight particular studies, eg on digital libraries
and the pricing of electronic publications accessed over
the web. (Separate guides cover questions of authentication,
digital rights management, payment systems and other matters.)
Starting points for understanding electronic publishing
Publishing & Beyond: The Economics of Digital Information
& Intellectual Property (Cambridge: MIT Press
2000) edited by Brian Kahin & Hal Varian - proceedings
from a Harvard Information Infrastructure conference.
Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier
(Cambridge: MIT Press 1996) edited by Robin Peek and
Scholarly Publishing (New York: Wiley 2001) edited
by Richard Abel & Lyman Newlin
- diverse essays on readership, authorship, publishing
Technology & Scholarly Communication
(Berkeley: Uni of California Press 1999) edited by Richard
Ekman & Richard Quandt - hardcopy of the major 1997
conference described later this guide - and God
and Mammon: Universities As Publishers (Urbana:
Uni of Illinois Press 1990) by Marsh Jeanneret
Impact of Electronic Publishing: The Future for Libraries
& Publishers (London: Saur 2000) by David Brown
- an updated version of his 1996 analysis of major print/electronic
publishers in the sciences
The Advance of Electronic Publishing, a 1998
UK Department of Trade & Industry report (PDF)
of interest because it draws on a survey of around 3,000
Getting Started in Electronic Publishing is an
for the International Network for the Availability of
Scientific Publications (INASP) by Sally Morris of the
Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers
The Transition from Paper: Where Are We Going and
How Will We Get There?, an American Academy of
Arts & Sciences collection
edited by Stephen Berry & Anne Moffat.
the 1998 report
for the UK Online Library Network about The Publishing
Of Electronic Scholarly Monographs & Textbooks and
Electronic publishing & the Future of the Book,
by Tom Wilson.
The 1996 OECD report
on Content As A New Growth Industry explores
markets, concentration and technologies for audio-visual
and multimedia products. It's a starting point
for understanding an evolving industry.
another perspective turn to How Much Information,
a fascinating report
by leading economists Hal Varian & Peter Lyman on
the dimensions of the 'information universe': quantifying
what's produced, transmitted, consumed and archived. UNESCO's
definition of 'book', by the way, is a "non-periodical
printed publication of at least 49 pages excluding covers".
And Radiant Textuality. Literary Studies after the
World Wide Web (New York: Palgrave 2001) by Jerome
McGann fizzes with enthusiasm for the dematerialised text.
Unfortunately a comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography
of electronic publishing is not available online.
Charles Bailey's online
Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography -
recently updated - provides a useful introduction to North
American research into academic EP. We've highlighted
other sources in later parts of this guide.
Sadly, much of the writing about electronic publications
considers the technology rather than how (or indeed whether)
it is used. While there was much media hype about Stephen
King's self-published 'e-novels' as a first nail in the
coffin of traditional publishing, there is considerable
support for the joke that the novels were downloaded by
millions but read by a handful. And, like vampires, the
publishers refuse to stay in the box.
Our design and accessibility
guides consider usability issues and point to resources
for studying what works online, and why (eg Jakob Nielsen's
on How Users Read On The Web).
For a broader view we refer you to Augusto Preta's 1998
(for the EU Electronic Publishing, Books & Archives
project) on Heavy readers: their practices and reaction
to multimedia and to Columbia University's Online
Books Evaluation Project.
Funded by the Mellon Foundation, the five year study
involved academic publishers and explored models for assessing
costs, user preferences and 'packaging' of monographs
in online formats. The final report
of that project is online, along with a report
on The Potential of Online Books in the Scholarly World.
four of this guide
highlights some of the perils and promises of academic
e-publishing, including those identified in Ann Bishop's
on Logins & Bailouts: Measuring Access, Use &
Success in Digital Libraries. The UK SuperJournal
project explored use of electronic journals, analysing
expectations and actual behaviour. Although it has been
criticised as too limited and artificial to produce genuine
results, the reports
make interesting reading.
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