Friday, October 12, 2007

what is publishing?

I'm in the process of making a transition in my organization, shifting into a newly created position as Head of Digital Publishing Services.

The first question that everyone asks is "What will you be doing?" The second is "What is publishing in a Library?"

We partner with faculty who are selecting content, organizing it, describing it, analyzing and identifying and creating intellectual relationships, and presenting and interpreting that content in new ways as born-digital scholarship. These projects are more frequently being considered in the promotion and tenure process. Is that the Library supporting a publishing activity? Most certainly.

We digitize collections, describe them, organize them, present them online, and promote them to our community for their use in teaching in research. Is that a publishing activity? It can be argued either way (and has been) -- I'm on the side that leans toward yes.

We provide production support and hosting for peer-reviewed electronic journals. No one would argue that we're participating an a publishing activity.

We're evaluating an Institutional Repository. Not a publishing activity per se, but a way to preserve the publishing output of our community. That's a service related to our stewardship role.

As a Library we're already very active participants in publishing activities. We have our Scholars' Lab, Research Computing Lab, and Digital Media Lab serving as the loci for our faculty collaborations. My role will be formalizing what our publishing services are, what our work flows should be, and how we can sustain and expand our consulting services related to scholarly communication.

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