'The Atheist's Bible: Diderot's 'Elements de physiologie' by Caroline Warman is the winner (jointly) of the R. Gapper Book Prize 2021 for best book in French Studies.

Innovative Publications

Innovative Publication Techniques: Changing the Nature of the Academic Book

At OBP, all our books are published in both physical (paperback and hardback) and digital (PDF, XML, HTML, EPUB and MOBI) formats. We believe Open Access publications can embrace the possibilities of digital publishing – by, for example, embedding audiovisual material or enabling greater interactivity with readers – without abandoning the printed form. While the digital elements discussed here are obviously most easily and effectively accessed from digital editions of the book, we make it easy for readers of the print edition to make use of them by providing web links, and also scannable QR codes wherever possible.

Here are examples of our titles that experiment with techniques including: incorporating audio/visual material into the fabric of the text; zooming functions on selected images; using commentary functions to enable reader annotation and discussion; and creating publications from database content.

Creating printed titles from digital platforms and databases

We are receiving increasing numbers of inquiries from people interested in how to create a publication from database content – whether to attract a different readership, to facilitate archiving and ensure the longevity of the work, or to increase the level of scholarly recognition it receives. We currently have three active projects in this area:

What Works in Conservation, edited by William J. Sutherland, Lynn V. Dicks, Nancy Ockendon, Silviu O. Petrovan and Rebecca K. Smith. For the past few years we have been publishing annual editions of a volume with conservation data drawn entirely from a database developed for a website.

A Lexicon of Medieval Nordic Law, by Inger Larsson, Ulrika Djärv, Jeffrey Love, Christine Peel, and Erik Simensen. The Lexicon is a suite of printed and other digital editions of this website, drawing the content directly from the online database. This polyglot dictionary draws on the vast and vibrant range of vernacular legal terminology found in medieval Scandinavian texts – terminology which yields valuable insights into the quotidian realities of crime and retribution; the processes, application and execution of laws; and the cultural and societal concerns underlying the development and promulgation of such laws.

The Miracles of St Frideswide, translated by Benedicta Ward and Andrew Dunning. Introduced and edited by Andrew Dunning. A specially tailored XML-first workflow will allow us to produce print and digital editions of this translation and critical apparatus alongside the web edition prepared for the nascent Library of Digital Latin Texts (LDLT).

In the first two cases, the OBP publication is not designed to maintain the working website but to provide a rendition of the information that can be investigated and engaged with in different ways; this might be more conducive to long-term access and archiving than the maintenance of an operating website or database.

Embedded material

Denis Diderot 'Rameau's Nephew' – 'Le Neveu de Rameau': A Multi-Media Bilingual Edition, edited by Marianne Hobson. Incorporates specially-recorded musical pieces into the body of the text, offering a sensory and scholarly evocation of Diderot’s work for a general audience. See here, for instance.

A Musicology of Performance: Theory and Method Based on Bach's Solos for Violin
, by Dorottya Fabian. Brings sound as well as scholarship to the study of musical performance through its wealth of embedded audio examples – readers are thus better able to evaluate Fabian’s interpretations. See here, for example.

Annunciations: Sacred Music for the Twenty-First Century, edited by George Corbett. A study of the relationship between the sacred and music that includes the scores and recordings of six new choral pieces, offering both art and analysis. See here.

Searching for Sharing: Heritage and Multimedia in Africa, edited by Daniela Merolla and Mark Turin. Includes videos of performances in action, illuminating visual and aural aspects that go far beyond the words on the page. See here for an example.

Ovid, Amores (Book One), by William Turpin. With embedded audio files of the Latin text read aloud, giving students a fuller understanding of the poetry and language, as here, for example.

Linked material

History of International Relations: A Non-European Perspective, by Erik Ringmar. This textbook includes many topic boxes that delve more deeply into a particular subject. They are accompanied by hyperlinks (in the digital editions) and scannable QR codes and a URL (in the print editions) that link to the author's website, where more resources are available for each topic. See an example here.

The Idea of Europe: Enlightenment Perspectives, edited by Catriona Seth and Rotraud von Kulessa. Links to audio recordings of several of the extracts in this anthology allow the reader to hear the pieces delivered in their original language. Hyperlinks are used in digital editions and scannable QR codes are used in print editions alongside the URL. See an example.

Storytelling in Northern Zambia: Theory, Method, Practice and Other Necessary Fictions, by Robert Cancel. Integrates recordings of the storytellers into the scholarly text, maintaining this cultural heritage for academic researchers to study but also for the people who are represented by and in it. Hyperlinks to the recordings are used in digital editions and scannable QR codes are used in print editions alongside the URL. For example, see here.

Commentary and text analysis

Text Genetics in Literary Modernism and Other Essays, by Hans Walter Gabler. This book has been uploaded to Voyant, enabling computer-assisted analysis of the text – a practice that aligns with Gabler’s own work and theory. Our Classics textbooks are available in interactive editions with teachers’ annotations, to encourage student engagement and deepen their understanding of the texts.

Hanging on to the Edges: Essays on Science, Society and the Academic Life, by Daniel Nettle. Linked to Hypothesis to enable public annotation and discussion.

Wikiversity editions

A Wikiversity edition of each of these books have been created, allowing them to be continually updated thanks to the power of social editing.

In the Lands of the Romanovs: An Annotated Bibliography of First-hand English-language Accounts of the Russian Empire (1613-1917), by Tony Cross. See the Wikiversity edition here.

Woodstock Scholarship: An Interdisciplinary Annotated Bibliography, by Jeffery N. Gatten. See the Wikiversity edition here.

Zooming function

Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print by Kathryn M. Rudy. We have developed our own image zooming function for this book, using open source software, to enable the reader to zoom in and view the manuscripts in detail e.g. see this example.

Dickens’s Working Notes for Dombey and Son, by Tony Laing. This close analysis of Dickens’s working notes uses Zoomify, allowing the reader to greatly magnify the manuscript photographs and enabling more detailed examination. See here, for example.

Piety in Pieces: How Medieval Readers Customized their Manuscripts, by Kathryn Rudy. Links to images hosted on the Koninklijke Bibliotheek’s Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts website, which allows the reader to zoom in and view the illuminations in detail, as in this example.

Additional resources

We provide additional online resources from the book’s title page, and we link to these from the book itself using online links and a scannable QR code. Some examples of these additional resources are given below.

Economic Fables, by Ariel Rubinstein. The author has created a website containing video clips, interactive questions and games relating to each chapter of the book. Readers can also access a Hebrew edition of the book.

Vertical Readings in Dante’s Comedy
, vols. 1-3, edited by George Corbett and Heather Webb. The books are based on 33 talks, which can be accessed online.

Social Media in Higher Education: Case Studies, Reflections and Analysis, edited by Chris Rowell. This book includes a series of podcasts based on the chapters: they are embedded in the book and an RSS feed is available to easily access the series using your podcast provider of choice.

Tyneside Neighbourhoods: Deprivation, Social Life and Social Behaviour in One British City, by Daniel Nettle. The extensive dataset compiled by the author as part of the research for the book is freely available, as is an archived version preserving the data as it was at the time of publication.

Brownshirt Princess: A Study of the 'Nazi Conscience', by Lionel Gossman. The additional resources for this book include a scanned edition of the original text and a number of image portfolios.

Wallenstein: A Dramatic Poem, by Friedrich Schiller, translated by Flora Kimmich. The original German text and an audiobook edition are available.

Remote Capture: Digitising Documentary Heritage in Challenging Locations, edited by Jody Butterworth, Andrew Pearson, Patrick Sutherland and Adam Farquhar. Includes digital appendices hosted on the British Library website that can be easily updated as technological specifications and BL best practice guidelines develop.

Henry James' Europe: Heritage and Transfer, edited by Dennis Tredy, Annick Duperray and Adrian Harding. Includes eight supplementary chapters.