eScholarship Editions, a California Digital Library program at the University of California, has completed a project to electronically publish nearly 1,400 UC Press digital books, making it the world's largest collection of university press electronic books.
Books available for free to all readers include such titles as The Romance of American Psychology: Political Culture in the Age of Experts; California's Salmon and Steelhead: The Struggle to Restore an Imperiled Resource; and Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture.
One year ago, eScholarship Editions and the UC Press began a collaboration to provide the full text of the books online at http://texts.cdlib.org/escholarship/.
The collection represents about a third of the UC Press books in print, plus more than 300 out-of-print titles in a range of topics, including art, science, history, music, religion, and fiction. While many of the electronic books are only available to UC faculty, students and staff, more than 400 of them are available to the public for free.
Realizing the limitations of other formats such as PDF (Portable Document Format), project staff converted the books into XML (Extensible Markup Language), which allows more flexible use of the books through a highly interactive user interface. Through XML, the electronic books support special features, including fully linked footnote and index references, searching capabilities and detailed bibliographic data.
Sustainable platform for online publishing
The collaboration between eScholarship Editions and the UC Press, and the success of the project, has put these organizations at the forefront of innovation in academic publishing.
"This project has allowed the UC Press to study the relationship between the free, open access of electronic books and revenues from print books," said Lynne Withey, director of the UC Press. "Preliminary analysis indicates that the availability of electronic editions has little impact on sales of print books, either positive or negative."
Through the eScholarship Editions program, the California Digital Library and the UC Press continue to build a productive collaboration, one that is focused on joint exploration of innovations in scholarly publishing.
"We're extraordinarily pleased with the results of this partnership," said Catherine Candee, director of scholarly communication initiatives at the CDL. "We've built a solid partnership with the press, an environment in which to experiment with new business and delivery models, a robust technical system ready for more development, and a truly useful resource for researchers, with more to come on all fronts.
"It is an important sign that the California Digital Library is fulfilling one of its charter goals -- to enable and influence change in scholarly communication and publication," she said.
About eScholarship Editions
eScholarship Editions is a project of the California Digital Library's eScholarship program (http://escholarship.cdlib.org/), which was launched to facilitate innovation and support experimentation in the production and dissemination of scholarship.
About the California Digital Library
The California Digital Library (http://www.cdlib.org/) supports the assembly and creative use of scholarship for the UC libraries and the communities they serve. Established in 1997 as a UC library, the CDL has become one the largest digital libraries in the world.
About the University of California Press
Founded in 1893, the UC Press (http://www.ucpress.edu/) publishes scholarly books, journals and academic series. Its award-winning publications have distinguished it as one of the leading university publishers.
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