This fall, as part of a $10,000 grant program funded by the NC State University Foundation, NCSU Libraries has invited faculty members to develop alternative course materials. The Alt-Textbook Project is a competitive grant for faculty members to develop free or low-cost alternates to traditional textbooks using open source material.
Not surprisingly, the library industry continues to digest and debate the potential impact from the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU) ebook subscription service. It is big news, but KU is not a new concept. Indeed, the concept was established by other similar services such as Oyster and Scribd, and over time will likely include […]
Looking back, the irony is so heavy-handed that it seems contrived. As my colleagues and I were preparing for our MOOC on Copyright for Educators and Librarians, which launched for the first time last week, the only resource that we wanted to use but could not successfully negotiate the permission for was Susan Bielstein’s book about negotiating permissions. It would have been great for us and, I am convinced, for the Press if we could have offered a single chapter of it for our over 8,000 MOOC participants to read. In the event, however, we rediscovered the fear and lack of sound business sense that grips the publishing industry, but also discovered the richness of the free resources that were available to us.
Last month I enjoyed the distinct privilege of keynoting the Conference for Law School Computing (also known as “CALIcon”), a gathering of legal educators, law librarians, and IT professionals in law put together by the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). I can’t say enough in praise of the ever-present spirit of sly spirited fun at this conference.
Say you’re a professional or businessperson who relocated to the United States. Or you’re a student who came to the this country to study. Or you live outside the United States but deal with Americans. You’re reasonably fluent in English, but you want to improve your skills. A new tool, PenguinStacks, is for you. Launched in beta this spring in the United States and Brazil, it takes aim at nonnative readers of English. The 120 titles on the site were assessed by New York University (NYU) PhD linguistics’ candidates and grouped into three levels.
Most academic librarians are familiar with the ‘big deal’ bundles offered by large academic publishers, which grant access to a large number of journals from a particular publisher at a discounted rate. And many will also be familiar with the opacity surrounding those deals, which are often negotiated on a school-by-school basis with confidentiality clauses in place. A new study of the economics of these bundle deals suggests that variations in how these bundles are priced for different institutions mean that they are a better deal for some schools than others.
The business of university press monograph publishing has always been madness, and changing conditions have made it even less sensible than it was. Yet any suggestion that there should be fewer university presses or that they should refocus their missions is greeted with shouts of dismay that are usually reserved for heretics and anarchists. Maybe we should remember that oft-quoted definition of madness—doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.
This year, the industry trade show Book Expo America (BEA) opened its doors to non-industry types, giving readers one day to flood New York’s Javits Center and connect with literary superstars at BookCon, a fan-driven event that grew out of the previous years’ Power Readers Day. While BookCon was a hit with many, bringing thousands of readers out to fill the show floor and rub elbows with their favorite authors, the event was not without some hiccups. Changes are already in store for next year’s iteration.