A Truly New Genre: Lessons Learned from Digital Publishing

May 3, 2011

An essay that I wrote, reflecting upon my experiences in online digital scholarship and publishing, has just been published at Inside Higher Education.

I begin:

“It’s true, unlike most academic e-books — erudite words placed into regulation paragraphs unceremoniously plopped onto a new environment with a few links and illustrations added — my video-book (according to my Glossary) is “large-scale online writing that depends upon video, text, design, and architecture for its meaning making.” That I can’t begin without defining the work itself (like the press’s request that I add a glossary to help readers) demonstrates how common terms of scholarly writing and publishing must be reworked, modified, or scare-quoted to most effectively describe and traverse the “limits of scholarship” of the digital sphere. But what, precisely, gets muddled at these borders and what might we best do about it?”

I then go on to enumerate nine lessons of fully online scholarly publishing that raise questions about medium specificity, reading practices, writing practices, temporal expectations, expanded audience, expanded authorship, legal challenges, vetting and support structures.

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