Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2003
Suzanne Samuel
(510) 587-6132

Three hundred University of California press escholarship editions now available on the web

More than 500 University of California Press books are available online free of charge through an ongoing partnership between UC Press and the California Digital Library. The University of California Press eScholarship Editions can be searched and browsed at http://escholarship.cdlib.org/ucpress/.

Over 300 of the University of California Press eScholarship Editions are available to the public. The other titles are currently only available to UC faculty, students and staff. Readers outside the UC system may view citations, abstracts and tables of contents, but not the full texts.

Titles available to all readers include Technopolis: High-Technology Industry and Regional Development in Southern California; Understanding Heart Disease; AIDS: The Burdens of History; Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad; and A History of Wine in America.

By fall 2003, 1,500 UC Press eScholarship Editions will be available. More than 400 titles will be available to the public; owing to licensing restrictions, the rest will be limited to the UC community.

The full collection will represent about a third of the UC Press books in print, plus over 300 out-of-print titles. The books cover a wide range of topics of interest to the general public as well as to scholars, including art, science, history, music, religion, natural history, and fiction. Many titles are currently used in courses, and University of California students are particularly excited about their free, online availability.

"This is a major effort to make a significant portion of our collection available to the UC community free of charge and to experiment with free online access to the public at large," said UC Press Director Lynne E. Withey. "It will be the largest collection of university press books available to date in electronic form. Although other university presses have talked about undertaking similar projects, UC Press is on the forefront."

UC Press and the California Digital Library (CDL) will monitor usage of the online books and sales of the print editions to determine if it is feasible to eventually make the entire collection available at no charge to users.

"Publishers always worry that making books freely available online will diminish print sales," Withey said. "Our experience, with a small group of about 60 titles, indicates that online availability has negligible impact, either positive or negative. This project will allow us to test the relationship between print and electronic more systematically."

The CDL's eScholarship program, which supports experiments in scholarly communications, converted the books into XML (Extensible Markup Language) to support an interactive user interface. An unlimited number of readers may access a single title at one time, so books do not have to be "checked out" to a single user, as is the case with some other online library collections.

"This project is a fantastic example of a dynamic collaboration between the CDL and UC Press -- one that we expect will produce many more projects in the months to come," said CDL Director and University Librarian Daniel Greenstein. "The CDL has developed services that make scholarly knowledge more accessible across geographic, socioeconomic and institutional lines.

"UC Press provides an imprimatur that is highly regarded by scholars around the world. It lends credibility and encourages use of these new modes of scholarly publishing that are enabled by the CDL's services."

Other features of the online collection include fully linked footnote and index references; the ability to search and browse by title, author or subject; detailed bibliographic data for each book, including a one-paragraph summary and many subject terms describing the book's content; and the ability to buy a hard copy of the book right from the Web site. Sophisticated navigation tools make it easy to maneuver through each chapter or from book to book, enabling readers to quickly and easily find exactly what they are seeking. While the Web site is the best place to find an up-to-the-minute list of titles available, the books are also cataloged in Melvyl, the catalog of the University of California libraries.

The UC Press eScholarship Editions is a project of the California Digital Library's eScholarship program (http://escholarship.cdlib.org/), which was launched to facilitate innovations and support experiments in the production and dissemination of scholarship.

The California Digital Library (http://www.cdlib.org/), which partners with the 10 UC campuses in a continuing commitment to apply innovative technology to managing scholarly information, opened to the public in January 1999. Organizationally housed at the UC Office of the President in Oakland, Calif., the CDL provides a centralized framework to efficiently share materials held by UC, to provide greater and easier access to digital content, and to join with researchers in developing new tools and innovations for scholarly communication.

Founded in 1893, the University of California 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 worldwide.

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Editors: For additional information, please contact Suzanne Samuel at the CDL, (510) 587-6132, or suzanne.samuel@ucop.edu. Additional information about the California Digital Library and eScholarship may be found at http://www.cdlib.org and http://escholarship.cdlib.org/



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