Digital Collections for Individual Subscribers

Exact Editions is now working with publishers to develop collections of books for sale to institutions and individual enthusiasts and experts. One of the first collections, from the poetry publisher Carcanet, is now available on the Exact Editions platform. It provides immediate access to 70 books from the Carcanet list of poetry and literature and subscribers will get access to an additional 30+ books in the course of their first year subscription.

Yesterday we also launched individual subscriber access to the Dunedin Society, Health and Family Care Collection 21 books at launch growing to 25 or more in the course of 2017. This collection makes an invaluable reference resource for practitioners and students working in social care, health, and other policy areas. In the view of Professor Julie Taylor (one of the series editors)

The utility of being able to search across all titles simultaneously is enormously useful, time saving and brings together a new level of focused filtering”

 

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The Dunedin Collection — searchable as a group

The Digital Reader blog in noting the launch of the Carcanet Collection comments “Exact Editions’ offering is really close(r) to being a single-publisher Safari subscription”. This is not a bad way of putting it, and we will be working with publishers who have lists in strongly focussed subjects or disciplines that have an appeal both to institutions and libraries, but also to students or practitioners.

Professor Taylor hits the nail on the head with her point that searching the whole collection is a significant gain when using and browsing a group of related books. Strange as it may seem this is not an added-value that has been taken up by publishers when they sell ebooks.

The Dunedin Collection

Today sees the launch of The Dunedin Society, Health and Family Care Collection  formed from two series of over 20 books published by Dunedin Academic Press.

The complete Collection offers advanced searching and efficient browsing over the entire collection of 22+ books, together making a very useful reference resource and reference to best practice for practitioners and students in the fields of social care and social policy.

Professor Julie Taylor (University of Birmingham), one of the series editors for Protecting Children and Young People remarked on seeing the series as presented in the collection, ‘The utility of being able to search across all titles simultaneously is enormously useful, time saving and brings together a new level of focused filtering‘ .

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Front covers of some of the books in the Dunedin Collection

Searching uses Boolean operators and is swift and straightforward

 

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Searching for “adoption” in Residential Child Care

Pages that are open can be shared with anyone via Twitter or Facebook. And through the Exact Editions web pages all these books can be searched and pages referenced.

The service is available to institutions through the Exact Editions institutional service and an annual subscription for a university or college with under 5,000 FTE (full time equivalents) costs $300. The standard Exact Editions terms apply: site-wide access 24X7, multiuser and unlimited access, statistics, cross-platform delivery and prompt support. Five books will be added to the collection in the course of the year. And the Dunedin Collection is another group of related titles to add to the growing list that Exact Editions will launch in the course of 2017.

 

The Carcanet Collection

The Exact Editions platform is now working with book publishers to license collections of books as digital resources for universities, colleges, schools and other institutional libraries. Carcanet has been one of the leading English language publishers of this generation and the Carcanet Collection has just been launched as an annual subscription resource. The collection starts with 70 titles and will grow to over 100 in the course of 2017. Institutions that subscribe will have multi-user, site wide access to all the books, with new titles joining the collection as they are published during the year. Each month there will be a few titles from the Collection available for open and free reading throughout the month, and many of the new titles will be show-cased in this way.

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A double-page spread from Peake: Complete Nonsense

Carcanet’s books meet the highest standards of typography and design, so they are well suited to the Exact Editions platform which:

(1) shows books exactly as they are printed

(2) ensures that each book and the collection as a whole is searchable

(3) ensures that each page is cite-able (via a permanent url), bookmark-able, and shareable via social media

(4) runs across all the major computing platforms: web browsers and apps for mobile and tablet devices.

These were all compelling reasons for launching books for institutions on the Exact Editions platform, but we have also made the decision to offer the books for annual subscriptions as Collections, and it is worth looking at some of our reasons for this choice:

(1) it seems that digital editions, when considered as teaching or scholarly resources have particular value when presented in groups. We will be working with publishers who want their books to be seen as part of a group, so that different topics, or related subjects and treatments can be seen together. Digital editions have special advantages in that they can be searched, compared, assigned and cited very efficiently because they come to the user in the same grouping. The availability of the ‘group’ across the campus to multiple users is especially strong; with physical books and some copy-protected ebooks the fact that one book is being used in one part of the library makes it un-usable to a reader who has another book from the same series open on her desk.

(2) in many cases the ‘collection’ is an easier entity for the library system to acquire (important!), service, integrate and deploy to readers. Also, if the collection is appropriate, the books really do have a group value, the resource is worth more than the sum of its parts.

(3) we also think that in many cases, with the biggest delivery platforms, where thousands of books or tens of thousand of books are delivered together, the advantages of smaller groupings and collections are being lost. Massive aggregations are not particularly attractive or friendly to the reader who wishes to study a much smaller sub-group.

(4) the collections will be publisher-specific (we have no plans to offer multi-publisher collections) and we think that this grouping, and the branding that goes with it has very many advantages for publishers. Especially smaller publishers with strong and coherent lists. Carcanet is an excellent example of a publisher with a list where most of the titles it publishes will be of interest to any library or institution with a strength in modern poetry and literary studies.

On these last two points. It is not clear that there is an ‘ideal’ size for a collection of books. There almost certainly is not, but our initial preference will be for collections of scores or hundreds of books. There are exceptions to this of course and publishers of Collected Works should give thought to the advantages of the Exact Editions platform for delivering such collections into the academy. If a publisher wishes to deliver and site license a collected edition of the works of Franz KafkaDavid Hume or Karl Marx, we would be happy to facilitate this offering. We are working with a variety of publishers, all of whom have lists of books that are interest to major libraries, though none of them are (as yet) exclusively ‘research publishers’. There are many publishers in this category and we have some very fine collections lined up to appear in the first quarter of 2017.

Promoting by free access

For the second month we are working with Carcanet to promote their wonderful poetry list by providing temporary free access to ten of their new books, throughout November. These are all for sale as perpetual access resources from Exact Editions, along with 60 other titles.

Exact Editions is able to provide publishers with an opportunity to make titles freely available for a limited period, because the platform provides users with access to a service. The technology is not driven by a system of file down-loads – unlike, for example, PDF files or ebook systems, where the whole book is downloaded to a user’s device before being fired up locally through a reading app. Because the whole book has to be downloaded and installed if a PDF file or a Kindle-file is to be read, it is not really practicable to promote these platforms temporarily.

That is an important advantage that many publishers will appreciate. But there are some other features which come in to their own when Exact Editions is used to provide an evaluation service:

  • Individual pages can be directly cited through their URL (see this poem Marriage by William Letford)
  • Each page looks exactly as it was printed. This matters so much for poetry.
  • The books and their lovely front covers can be tweeted or shared via social media.

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Carcanet poetry in November

Ten poetry books from Carcanet are available for free reading and evaluation through the Exact Editions web site for the month of November.

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The list comprises:

The Alexandra Sequence — John Redmond

Beyond the Barbed Wire: Selected Poems — Abdellatif Laabi

Dirt — William Letford

John Masefield — Muriel Spark

The Met Office Advises Caution — Rebecca Watts

Playing the Octopus — Mary O’Malley

Quennets — Philip Terry

What Must Happen — Jeffrey Wainwright

The Windows of Graceland — Martina Evans

Winter Migrants — Tom Pickard

These are beautiful books full of arresting poetry from some of our freshest voices. Each page is linkable, and here are three poems that struck me with their power and wit:

All alcoholics are charmers  ….that is if they are any good.

Jetsam / Flotsam …Grounds for debate/ by windswept committees/ of sharp-eyed gulls

MISS SYNCOPATION …so, she said,/ stripped/ and slipping into bed,/ do you have a copy/ of machiavelli’s/ the prince,/ then?