The Academic Book of the Future – project report

The project outlined in my previous blog, see below, also published a ‘project report‘.

This discusses indexes in the following part:

  • para 146 – Enhanced monographs – Scholarly monographs, even the simplest of them, and even in print form, have intricate organisational structures, notes, indexes, tables of content, sections, tables, illustrations. Given this, they are not
    particularly well served by current ebook reading devices; enhanced monographs might represent better the complexities of scholarly argument than the less functional ebook. …

The section on Enhanced monographs goes on to give examples of different projects which have created ‘enhanced monographs. The terms ‘interesting’, ‘exciting’, ‘innovative’ and ‘promising’ are used to describe them. Then comes ‘costly’, ‘time-consuming’, ‘not scalable’. So while some high-profile projects have been created, there’s little here about indexes per se, and no anticipation of what could be created using existing standards such as EPUB 3.

EPUB 3 was developed to support indexing for e-books and further information can be found here. The resources page was updated in 2017, and points to a range of material.

Another section of the report looks at new digital developments and discusses open access, the Books as Open Online Content developed as part of the project, and other experimental digital offerings. Then something on non-textual PhD theses, and finally the problems of digital preservation. Information retrieval for the users of these services is not gone into in any detail. This is disappointing because without adequate ways of finding material, full use of all that publishing effort and storage for posterity will not be achieved.

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