Michigan Asian Studies Open Access Books Collection Launches

by Charles Watkinson on August 31, 2020

The University of Michigan Press in collaboration with the Centers for Chinese, Japanese, South Asian and Southeast Asian Studies is pleased to announce the launch of the Michigan Asian Studies Open Access Books Collection. Jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Humanities Open Book Program has made outstanding out-of-print and hard-to-find humanities books available to a wide audience. Under this program, the University has made 100 significant books about Asia published under its auspices freely and publicly available online. 

The goal of the project was to select, digitize, and enhance one hundred titles published by the Centers over the past 50 years. The titles included in the Michigan Asian Studies Open Access Books Collection aim to advance public understanding of the diversity of society, culture, and history in East, South, and Southeast Asia. The Collection grew from a partnership between scholars of Asian studies from Michigan and other schools, the Centers, the U-M Asia Library, and University of Michigan Press. 

“The open access release of this diverse collection of quality monographs in Asian Studies will be enthusiastically welcomed by scholars, librarians, and students in the field,” says Dawn Lawson, Head of the Asia Library. “The collection both renews access to titles long out of print and makes openly available important newer works.” 

The collection is available on Fulcrum as part of the University of Michigan Ebook Collection (UMP EBC). This open source publishing platform developed at Michigan supports illustrations, photographs, tables, interactive maps, and 3D models. Titles will continue to be enhanced after their launch, with priority informed by usage and reception measures

This collection is an important step in making access to knowledge about Asia open access,” says Lisa Trivedi, project advisory board member and Professor of South Asian History at Hamilton College. “As scholars of Asian societies, most authors hope that their work will not only advance specific lines of inquiry in their fields, but also be important to the societies with which they engage. By ensuring that these scholarly works are available free of charge to scholars and the public in Asia, the project promotes equity in access to knowledge and supports scholarly cooperation globally.”

For the digitization of the series, the Press partnered with NewGen to create EPUB files of the print backlist. Accessibility was a key focus of the digitization, as NewGen completed several quality control checks to make sure OCR, alt text tags, captions, and metadata met the Press’s accessibility requirements. 

The Michigan Asian Studies Open Access Books Collection adds to the wide array of digital scholarship offered in the University of Michigan Press Ebook Collection. Learn more: https://www.publishing.umich.edu/features/asian-studiesInformation about the grant program that made this work possible is available here: https://www.neh.gov/project/michigan-asian-studies-open-access-books-collection.

For more information, please contact:

Charles Watkinson, Director, University of Michigan Press, University of Michigan Library, watkinc@umich.edu

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