Monday, September 25, 2006

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The latest step in scholar-blogging

John Holbo has introduced a new and interesting book imprint series that he will edit called Glassbead:

Glassbead will exemplify what academic book publishing should be in another sense: namely, healthy public intellectual culture. We will purvey a wide variety of contentóranging from academic specialist works to journalism to critical editions of public domain fiction to new fiction. But we aim to make our mark with works that solve intellectual circulation problemsówithin the ivory tower and without. We will make books that are maximally available, searchable, usableóby the public and by academics. We will make books the general reader (not so mythical as sometimes reported) and the academic reader will want to make use of.

Our most distinctive offeringsóour first releasesówill be "book events." Born on blogs as massive, multi-reviewer online seminars, the book events are hybrid creatures, unknown in a paper age. We are proud of the critical work they do, the range of participants they have attracted. And, after the fact, they look quite nice on paper. And we hereby demonstrate what an intellectual gift culture can do for the rest of academic publishing. Not all of these books will be narrowly academic, but the case for their intellectual functionality is clearest in the scholarly cases, and perhaps clearest of all in the humanities. Every book published in the humanities should be widely read, discussed, publicly reviewedóshould have it's own lively comment box, not to put too fine a point on it. Because any scholarly book incapable of rousing a measure of sustained, considerate, knowledgeable, intelligent criticism and downright bookchat from a few dozen souls specializing in that area . . . needn't have been published, after all. Turning the point around: in an age in which technology assures any book worth publishing can be accompanied by such an event, any book that lacks one has been sadly failed by the academic culture in which it was so unfortunate as to be born. We hope to do our part and, even more so, set an excellent example of how to keep ideas circulating.

There are several interesting implications of this project. Among the more obvious:
1) It's another means through which blog outputs can be translated into scholarly capital, as it were;

2) I predict John Holbo is going to find that people will be much nicer to him than in the past;

3) There will be the interesting question of whether these collections are better to get in .pdf format or in hard copy. From the first effort, I suspect it might be the former:

Paper has been a bit of a puzzle. We have opted to make it typographically clear where links appear in the electronic version. Readers of the paper version who wish to follow links can download the PDF version of the book from Parlor Press, or check the original posts.
Over at Open U., Jacob Levy is also enthusiastic.

posted by Dan on 09.25.06 at 09:35 PM




Comments:

I predict John Holbo is going to find that people will be much nicer to him than in the past.

You make it sound like he was unpopular before. Do you have to be snarky, always?

posted by: scritic on 09.25.06 at 09:35 PM [permalink]






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