The University Press Roundup Manifesto: A #UPWeek 2014 Blog Tour Post

It’s the final day of University Press Week 2014! All week long university presses have been participating in the UP Week Blog Tour. We are thrilled to participate, and excited about today’s blog post theme: Follow Friday.

Make sure you check out the other presses posting today: University of Illinois Press, University of Minnesota Press, University of Nebraska Press, NYU Press, and Island Press!

The University Press Roundup Manifesto

One of the most popular and longest-running series of posts on the Columbia University Press blog is our weekly University Press Roundup, a list of links to interesting posts from the blogs of other academic publishers. The Roundup is also an exceptionally enjoyable post to write. It’s hard to go wrong with a morning spent reading through articles from our ever-growing list of scholarly publishing blogs and explaining the most interesting ones. But in addition to the fun we have writing it (and, we hope, that others have reading it), the Roundup has a more serious raison d’etre: by showing the diversity and quality of posts on academic publishing blogs, we hope to help demonstrate the role of university presses in bringing scholarly conversations into the public sphere, and to show that this facilitation happens through the blogs of scholarly publishers as well as through our books.

University press blogs occupy an interesting place in the scholarly landscape: they offer more variety than a single-authored blog; stylistically, posts can be less formal than academic journals but more scholarly than other print and online publications; and, perhaps most importantly, blogs offer an easy and trusted venue for general-interest readers to find out about the latest scholarship. For university press authors as well as readers, this is a crucial benefit. It can be difficult for the authors (and publishers) of scholarly books, particularly those in more esoteric fields, to generate the publicity that will allow them to reach their audience. The positive effect that blogs can have in connecting readers and authors is magnified when one thinks of each university press blog not only as a single site, but also as a member of a larger network of other UP blogs, each supporting the others’ mission to help new scholarship find its audience. Perhaps the most important goal of the University Press Roundup is to help readers and university press employees alike to think of all scholarly publishers as part of this larger community.

After all, the variety of topics covered each week by all of the academic publishing blogs is nothing short of staggering. The most recent Roundup alone, for example, linked to posts on the relationship between Ebola and influenza, the ethics of being a mercenary, new meanings of “transparency” in America, the role of the very wealthy in politics, the internet’s role in Islamist-jihad movements, the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, a sociological look at wasted time at work, the art of giving and receiving criticism at work, the threatened existence of beaches, the growing electricity needs of Phoenix, and little-known facts about tequila. Each week, we see scholarly articles on the blogs we cover, but also in-depth interviews with authors, calls to action, informative looks at the way publishing works, recipes for food and drinks, advice columns, polemics, how-to guides, and more. Each press brings their own unique style and focus to their blog, and when one looks at the blogs together, it is clear that as a group we are bringing a high volume of thoughtful, important content to the internet. By highlighting some of that output in our Roundup, we hope to make the variety more apparent.

Read on below for our special (extra-long) #UPWeek 2014 Roundup!

University Press Week Blog Tour Roundup

Monday: Collaboration
At the University of California Press Blog, UC Executive Editor Naomi Schneider discusses the work of authors Dr. Paul Farmer and Dr. Jim Yong Kim on “developing strategies to combat the Ebola epidemic.”

The Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press focused on the “Turabian Teacher Collaborative,” explaining how the revised version of Kate Turabian’s classic writing guide incorporates research generated by students and teachers working together to find the best ways to learn how to write well.

In their #UPWeek post, the University of Colorado Press team describes their recent work with The Veterinary Information Network on the publication of Basic Veterinary Immunology.

At the beautifully redesigned Duke University Press Blog, anthropologist Evan Kirksey discusses changing understandings of “collaboration,” and takes a close look at his own collaborative projects, including an edited collection recently published by Duke.

The University of Georgia Press blog describes the press’s collaborative, ongoing, and constantly evolving relationship with the all-digital New Georgia Encyclopedia from its virtual ribbon-cutting in 2004 up through today.

This is the very first University Press Week involving Project MUSE, and it’s only fitting that they would have a chance to kick off the blog tour with a detailed description of how MUSE’s groundbreaking collaborative efforts have gotten them to where they are today.

At McGill-Queen’s University Press, Editor in Chief Jonathan Crago writes about the collaborative effort that enabled them to publish Landscape Architecture in Canada in both English and French.

The Texas A&M University Press blog staff sat down with Matthew Minson, MD, to talk about his recent book Prepare to Defend Yourself and the importance of the support of the Texas A&M University School of Public Health, which supported its publication.

The Miller Center at the University of Virginia is famous for its Presidential Recordings Program, which transcribes recordings made by Presidents going back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The University of Virginia Press recently worked with the Miller Center to publish Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate, and in their #UPWeek post, they describe the experience.

Yale University Press is one of academia’s leading publisher of beautifully designed art books, so it’s only fitting that they have a guest post from Metropolitan Museum of Art publisher and editor in chief Mark Polizzotti on the difficulties of publishing museum-quality books.

Tuesday: University Press in Pictures

The University of Florida Press presents a visual history of UPF through the years.

Fordham University Press’s very impressive Pinterest page makes it clear that they’ve come a long way since 1907.

Indiana University Press has a brief history of the press in pictures (spoilers: Johnny Depp makes an appearance).

The JHU Press Blog took a slightly different approach to “the UP in pictures”: they feature a two-part post with an interview with art director Martha Sewall on the art of book design and a guest post from author and illustrator Val Kells on the art of marine science illustration.

Meanwhile, Stanford University Press looks back at the difficulties faced by publishers looking to make a well-designed illustrated book circa 1960.

Wednesday: University Presses in Pop Culture

Georgetown University Press is known for their strong espionage booklist, and in their #UPWeek post, they examine how that list intersects with the many television shows built around spy stories (also: many gifs).

The wonderful gifs just keep on giving with the University Press of Kentucky blog post on Bryan Cranston’s new mustache for his part in the movie Trumbo, which coincides nicely with UPK’s forthcoming title, Dalton Trumbo: Blacklisted Hollywood Radical.

The University Press of Mississippi also has a major film tie-in with one of their books: Walt Before Mickey is a UPM title that will soon be released as a movie with the same title.

The Penn Press Log takes issue with the idea that university press titles aren’t for everyone. In their #UPWeek post, they list an excellent selection of their titles that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

The films just keep on coming! The Princeton University Press Blog sits down with editor Vickie Kearn to discuss the process by which Princeton title Alan Turing: The Enigma was turned into The Imitation Game, a film starring a wide array of famous actors.

The University of Wisconsin Press Blog took the opportunity to discuss the difficult art of publishing timely books on current events, and to provide a list of their timeliest books to round out their post.

Thursday: #ThrowbackThursday

The Harvard University Press Blog took on the challenge of #ThrowbackThursday by creating a fun (and nearly impossible) quiz. The object? Try to guess whether given titles refer to backlist HUP books or songs by the band The Decemberists. Good luck!

At the MIT Press blog, Editor Marc Lowenthal takes a look back at iconic designer Muriel Cooper’s work with the Press, and, in particular, her design of the MIT Press colophon.

North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, uses the #ThrowbackThursday prompt to discuss one of their most influential book series: the Asian American History and Culture series (AAHC).

The University of Washington Press blog also focuses on an important and historic book series which, coincidentally, also focuses on Asian American culture: their Classics of Asian American Literature series.

For their #TBT post, the Wesleyan University Press Blog lets the poetry of Alice Notley speak for itself by presenting her “Flowers of the Foothills & Mountain Valleys.”

Friday: #FollowFriday

At the University of Illinois Press blog, Editor Daniel Nasset explains how and why he’s following new developments in the geopolitics of information in order to stay up to date with his new series (aptly named The Geopolitics of Information series).

Island Press Field Notes asked the Island Press acquisitions editors to talk about the most important “follows” in their fields. It’s a great list that really speaks to the many ways that one can find scholarly information online.

The University of Minnesota Press Blog is featuring a guest post from anthropologist John Hartigan, who discusses the fascinating concept of using the internet, and specifically social media platforms, to create a “continuous book.”

At the University of Nebraska Press Blog, the UNP marketing department weighs in on the very idea of “Follow Friday.” They argue that a major role of academic publishers is to use our position at the center of a variety of different academic fields to help nurture conversation both through our books and through our various online presences.

And finally, last but certainly not least, From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, has a guest post from Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler, who have recently edited the second edition of Keywords for American Cultural Studies, which collects an interdisciplinary array of essays each based on a single term (“America, “culture,” “law,” “religion”).

Thanks for reading! And thanks to all the participants in the #UPWeek 2014 blog tour!

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