Beyond the Book: Publishing Scholarly Content in the Caribbean

Authors: Joseph Powell*, The University of the West Indies Press
Topics: Latin America, Higher Education
Keywords: Publishing, Caribbean, Content
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 7, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The printed book has been the primary output of scholarly presses for well over four hundred years. The culture of scholarly publishing developing out of this history focuses heavily on acquiring, producing, and marketing books. However, new scholarship and pedagogy today draws upon, and presents, in many diverse forms that interact with web-based technologies, digitized primary sources, and interactive media. Sound, film, interactive maps, and other dynamic digital resources are now critical to scholarly analysis and argument, as well as classroom teaching. This kind of research is accessible through equally diverse and ever-changing technologies ranging from simple e-readers to smartphones. How can a publishing culture based on the “book” respond to the demands of new research and the needs of scholars, readers, and libraries?

I address these issues based upon my experience as a geographer and director of a Caribbean-based scholarly press. I present the steps we are taking to respond to client and market demands for new forms of scholarly content. This includes web design for hosting sound and video files, as well as developing our “Jamaican Popular Music” series and building a digital database. These steps take place within a paradigm shift I argue that scholarly presses move from publishing “books” to publishing “content” of which books are one form. This means presses need to play a role much earlier in the research process as a partner, as well as being interactive in output.

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