Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Monday, July 08, 2013

Resources for OA book publication

My post "Some OA journals that publish S-Asia related research," was self-evidently devoted to journals.

There is also a growing field of services for publishing OA books.  Some research funding agencies, such as the FWF in Austria, require contractually that books too should be published OA.  To me, the business model for OA book publishing is less clear than that for journals, and I see many difficulties.  Nevertheless, the field is growing.

Some resources:
  • Directory of Open Access Books

    "The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact."
  • Knowledge Unlatched

    "Knowledge Unlatched is a not-for-profit organisation committed to helping global communities share the costs of Open Access publishing so that good books continue to be published and more readers are able to engage with them."
  • Open Humanities Press

    "The basic idea is simple: making peer-reviewed literature permanently available, free of charge and freely redistributable by taking advantage of the low cost and wide access of internet distribution." ... "After looking at the various efforts underway, we concluded that an editorially-driven international press, focused on building respect through its brand, is what is required to tackle the digital 'credibility' problem. With OHP, we aim to emulate the strengths and flexibility of commercial presses, while avoiding the institutional limitations of the university-based e-presses."
  • Open Edition

    "OpenEdition is the umbrella portal for OpenEdition Books,, Hypotheses and Calenda, four platforms dedicated to electronic resources in the humanities and social sciences."
  • Open Edition Books

    "OpenEdition Books est une plateforme de livres en sciences humaines et sociales. Plus de la moitié d'entre eux est en libre accès. Des services complémentaires sont proposés via les bibliothèques et institutions abonnées."
  • Open Access Publishing European Network

    "Online library and publication platform.  The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences. OAPEN works with publishers to build a quality controlled collection of Open Access books, and provides services for publishers, libraries and research funders in the areas of dissemination, quality assurance and digital preservation."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Where's that Book? On the physical locations of knowledge

Many years ago, my then wife – whose academic specialism was similar to my own – decided that it would make sense to merge our book collections. When I got home from work, our two libraries had been unified, and arranged alphabetically by author. I experienced this as a negative change, I felt lost, ignorant, almost lobotomized. I took the rearrangement as an act of mild aggression, although I admitted freely that this was not at all my wife's intention. From her point of view, she was making it easier for both of us to access our complementary book collections. She was being tidy, logical, orderly. From my point of view, I had lost the ready mental association of book with spatial location, that was integral to the way I habitually remembered references.

For me, the act of remembering academic matters often goes as a rapid internal dialogue, something like this: “Ah yes! So-and-so said something about this. Now what was it exactly? Hmm.” Then I would turn from my desk towards the shelves, thinking, “With the books on topic X. Top right, at about eye-level.” In my mind's eye, my attention roams to the spot on the wall where the book was located. Then I would get up, fetch the book, and find the passage I was after.
In my spatial memory, the phrase “books on topic X” need not actually refer to a subject location. It could be books of a certain colour, especially if a series were all printed in the same style of binding. Or books of a certain size, or that I bought or was given at a certain time. The arrangement of books on my shelves was – and is again – mostly subject-wise, but there are exceptions. But this doesn't affect my ability to remember spatially where books are. As long as the books are where I put them in the first place, then I can rapidly and efficiently find them again. 

The distress I experienced when the books were put into somebody else's logical order was a very real reduction in cognitive power.

I have experienced this several times since then, especially when moving house or office. Physically displacing my personal book collection results in a loss of bibliographical and cognitive control. That control is never quite recovered, in spite of attempts to reproduce the original arrangement of the books. Such a rearrangement is never quite possible. This is partly because the layout of the new storage space does not lend itself to reproducing the original ordering. But also because one's physical resources of energy and time do not allow for a full recovery of the original arrangement.

All this raises the broader question of books, locations, and memory. My own method of relating cognitively to my books is, I suppose, a pale version of the famous medieval European concept of the Theatre of Memory, so eloquently described by Frances Yates. [At this point, I recall that the Yates book is at above head-level on the second column of books in the next room. I fetch it, and write out the bibliographical information for the following footnote.]1
Further points for development:

  • On moving libraries, the Kern Library.
  • What is lost, what is gained.
  • Open access versus closed access.
1 Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory (London, ARK Paperbacks, 1984). First published in 1966.