Thinking about Digital Publishing

Some implications of "digital" for academic publishing

How exhibition catalogues are organised

Nicolaes Maes, Vertumnus and Pomona, c.1655, not in the exhibition catalogue (but who knows?)

When creating a digital collection of textual content, some attempt is made to structure the individual texts in a standard way. After all, every journal article has a title, an abstract, …

What do we really miss with online conferences and events?

For the entirety of my career in publishing, there have been regular events that punctuate regular work. For weeks or months you trudged to the company office, but then you were given a moment of freedom to meet others and to network. Suddenly, in March …

R2R 2021: How to replicate interactivity online

A screenshot created using Miro

This was never going to be a pale imitation of earlier iterations of this conference. Mark Carden has always set his stall out to provide more interactivity than in other conferences. The standard format of workshops, debates, interviews, and chat …

The Literature of the Book

Only John Dove could fit not one, but three main topics in a presentation timed at six minutes and 40 seconds (at the Charleston Conference, 2013). I’ll just look at one of those topics, learning about the profession of publishing. John glowingly refers to a …

Do publishers provide what researchers need?

Tesla charging station (image from Tesla promotional site)

I was shocked by a Scholarly Kitchen post this week (Roger Schonfeld, “Publishers Still Don’t Prioritize Researchers”, January 26, 2021), not for what the article stated, but for the response from the community.

Perhaps …

Can we wean ourselves off Zoom?

A typical SpatialChat screen, showing the thumbnail video images of participants

I’m probably not the only person to lose enthusiasm when I hear the word “Zoom”. It’s no better or worse than other conference call software, but its ubiquity during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the …

Why are the Oxford Very Short Introductions so successful?

What makes the Oxford Very Short Introductions series such a stunning success? With over eight million copies sold, they have been honoured by articles in the mainstream media: Kathryn Schulz in the New Yorker devoted a not-so-short article in 2017 to the series and attempted …

How we used to find things: The Oxford Guide to Library Research

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

The Oxford Guide to Library Research, first published in 1987, is now in its fourth edition (2015), and was described by Aaron Tay in his Musings on Librarianship as “classic”. It sounded like just what I wanted – at …

Why short books are better than long books

My English teacher at school used to tell us, when asked how long an essay should be, “begin at the beginning and go on until you come to the end”. In other words, there is no perfect length for a piece of text. That advice, …

An academic economist on recommender systems

Ronald Coase

Following my recent post on recommender systems such as Spotify charging money for inclusion on a playlist, I re-read Ronald Coase, the Chicago academic who wrote such as long article describing the background to payola – his article is over 20,000 words long. …

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