Category Archives: Libraries

University Press Content Consortium – a major USA collaboration to watch

Further to our February 22 blog advocating for more collaboration amongst Australian university presses, the March announcement of the USA’s University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) launching in January 1, 2012, confirms and expands the potential for such collaboration.

Although precise details are hazy, the primary driver for this initiative appears to be more on the marketing and distribution side of things, rather than on the production side. Their media release states: “The partnership allows e-books from an anticipated 60-70 university presses and non-profit scholarly presses—representing as many as 30,000 frontlist and backlist titles—to be discovered and searched in an integrated environment with content from nearly 500 journals currently on MUSE.”

It will be interesting to watch over time how this level of collaboration spills over to sharing production platforms also. It would make sense for the 60-70 presses to develop alliances around platforms, and perhaps some services, for manuscript submission, peer-review, copy editing, design & layout, ebook formatting, print-on-demand, and other common areas of need.

For a stimulating collection of thoughts about the future of scholarly publishing, see this edition of the Journal of Electronic Publishing dedicated to ‘reimagining the university press’.


The iPad might give Libraries more sway with the publishers

Adelaide University has recently announced that all first year science students will be given an iPad in 2011. This is potentially a big event for the book world, but one that makes us scratch our heads to see what the fresh undergraduates will actually use them for.

It is a given that connecting via facebook, listening to music, watching video clips, and other activities will be part of most students’ daily iPad practice. But what about the learning activities that, we presume, even if only as an experiment, the university also had in mind?

Accessing the learning management system would be a natural fit for this very friendly and so-portable device. But once in there, how much of the textbook material will be available? Possibly very little, which may be less of a problem in the sciences than in the humanities or social sciences. But if they can access textbook content, will it be integrated into the students’ portal and learning management system, or only accessible via another online password-protected environment?

For the use of iPad-like devices to spread much more textbook content needs to become accessible online. The iPad is helping create an environment where publishers might become motivated to start working more closely with university libraries, and the campus book-sellers, to deliver textbook content (for a charge) to students via learning management systems.