Reimagining the Monograph

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Monday, June 12, 8:45–10:15 AM
Chair: Alex Humphreys, Director, JSTOR Labs
Panelists: Laura Mandell, Director, Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media and Culture, Texas A&M University; Charles Watkinson, Director, University of Michigan Press and Associate University Librarian, University of Michigan Library

Monographs are increasingly making the print-to-digital shift that journals started twenty years ago, opening up new possibilities for the ways that a long-form argument can be presented and communicated. Yet a richer online environment for scholarly monographs has not come to pass, or at least not at scale. In October 2016, JSTOR Labs, an experimental platform development group at JSTOR, convened a group of scholars, librarians, and publishers to unpack the design issues around the presentation of digital monographs. The group proposed a set of principles for reimagining the presentation of monographs in order to improve the user experience and increase the value of ebooks to scholars. In this presentation, we will introduce these principles, which are outlined in a new white paper available and demonstrate a prototype that the JSTOR Labs group built based on the working group’s feedback: a topic-based navigational aid for monographs called Topicgraph. We will reflect on the implications of these principles for authors, researchers, libraries and publishers. Last, we will contemplate next steps for this work and explore and seek audience input on potential future prototypes and directions.

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