(Full versions of posts concerning Rotunda; for an abbreviated display, you can view the Rotunda category page.)
- The River of Change November 12, 2013
As part of this year’s University Press Week, we are proud to join 36 other university presses in a blog tour that will touch on some of the most pressing issues in our industry. Blogging along with us today are Harvard University Press, Stanford University Press, the University of Texas Press, Duke University Press, Temple University Press, and the University of Minnesota Press. A schedule for the entire week is here. Today’s theme is the future of scholarly publishing, so we turned to Holly Shulman, who served as editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, the first publication under our electronic imprint, and coeditor of Rotunda’s latest title, People of the Founding Era.
While visiting Houston last weekend, I heard for the first time about the East Texas town of Jefferson. By the time Texas became a state, in 1845, Jefferson was its sixth largest city. It was an important transportation hub in the days when streamships and inland waterways were more important than railroads. Boats going up the Mississippi River crossed into Texas on the Red River, and Jefferson thrived. Today it is just a small town, a relic of the past that lives off of its tourist industry. Legend has it that the railroad companies wanted to route their tracks through Jefferson, and the city leaders said no: they had the river traffic; they did not need this new form of transportation. And so the city of Jefferson shriveled.
This story may not be historically accurate, but it is compelling. It reflects a consistent dynamic in America wherein old ways are challenged and, finally, defeated by new ways—usually driven by a new technology.
The fate of Jefferson may be predictive of changes occurring in the world of books and publishing. Almost overnight, what were once considered far-off possibilities in the industry are now fully arrived necessities. Every press must create e-books, an endeavor that has little to do with its traditional expertise. Publishers must adapt to and work with Amazon as they watch bookstores collapse under the weight of online competition. Each press must consider making the transition to an XML workflow.
As a historian working with primary-source materials, I ask myself how this revolution will affect the world of documentary editions—the magisterial collections of the papers of our founding fathers, of Webster, Clay, and Calhoun, of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Eleanor Roosevelt, still published in print on smooth creamy paper, heavy with text. Will such projects survive the next ten years? Or does the community of editors have to adjust in order to avoid going the way of Jefferson. I am inclined to think that yes, even here the new will push out the old.
And what about the university press—will it be able to accommodate the new, especially in the arena of documentary editions? Perhaps only with difficulty. But I don’t think in this case that shortsightedness is to blame. It is not that the publishing world’s city fathers believe that what they have—the water traffic—will support their prosperity well into the future. I suspect it is because university presses, which have always published print editions, find the new way of doing things hard and expensive. Creating a really good digital edition—one that either repurposes an older print version, or produces a new born-digital one—is daunting. A press has to acquire a server. It must hire a staff of knowledgeable experts. These new professionals must be conversant in XML and in TEI, in computer languages and databases. These are not the skills of past generations of publishing staffs.
I feel thankful to have found the only electronic imprint among American university presses: Rotunda, the digital wing of the University of Virginia Press. My project, The Dolley Madison Digital Edition (DMDE), will turn ten soon, and as the event draws closer I have been thinking about what Rotunda has meant to me and to the DMDE. Rotunda took me under their wing and together we designed a whole new kind of edition that neither looked nor felt like a book.
As a historian and editor, I feel as if I have not only explored Dolley Madison’s world, but been able to share it with readers in a way I never could have done in print. Rotunda’s latest publication, People of the Founding Era: A Prosopographical Approach, on which I was fortunate enough to collaborate, is the imprint’s most sophisticated project yet. This database, containing many thousands of biographical profiles, reveals the relationships and trends of a distant era in a way that no print publication could have.
We who are published by Rotunda ought to be grateful. We have a publisher who can take on the technical challenges that presses are increasingly faced with and one that has generated a business plan that makes online publishing of primary-source material financially sustainable. Recognizing one must advance is one thing; to avoid the fate of Jefferson, Texas, one must also be prepared to advance. And while we must take that leap to ensure our survival, we will find it enriches our work in ways we had never imagined.
Holly Shulman, Research Professor at the University of Virginia, is the editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition and coeditor of the forthcoming People of the Founding Era, both published by Rotunda.
- New Buildings and Photos in SAH Archipedia August 27, 2013
SAH Archipedia has been expanded to include 1371 new building entries, including 857 from Buildings of Michigan and 514 from other states, along with 75 new photographs and updates to about 2400 entries.
Encompassing the architecture of the Upper and Lower peninsulas, which are surrounded by four of the Great Lakes, the newly incorporated material from the revised edition of Buildings of Michigan explores the state’s history and surveys the architecture of Detroit and many other cities and villages. The range of buildings and places includes early inns and houses along the Sauk Trail, the mine locations of the Copper and Iron ranges, the sandstone architecture of the Lake Superior region, the concrete buildings of Alpena, lighthouses and lifesaving stations of the Upper Great Lakes, the state’s numerous bridges, the great houses of automobile industrialists in Grosse Pointe, the factories of Albert Kahn, the mid-twentieth-century buildings of Alden B. Dow and Minoru Yamasaki, and contributions of numerous local architects who have added to Michigan’s architectural heritage. The up-to-date content introduces sites from the recent past and the present; discusses broad sweeping cultural landscapes, historical parks, greenways, and linear parks; and showcases triumphs in historic preservation.
Over 500 entries from other states in the BUS series have been added following review of geocoding, and metadata has been reviewed and corrected for 2400 additional entries. SAH Archipedia now contains a total of 11736 building entries.
Photographs contributed by former BUS editor in chief Damie Stillman have been added to illustrate building entries from Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.
- Open Position: Editorial and Technical Specialist, Rotunda August 21, 2013
NOTE: as of 10 September 2013, although this position is open in the UVA HR system, we have selected finalists and are no longer actively reviewing applications.
The University of Virginia Press seeks to hire an Editorial and Technical Specialist for XML/metadata within our Rotunda division, which publishes peer-reviewed born-digital scholarly works. The incumbent in this position will be working primarily on SAH Archipedia, an ongoing reference work authored by the Society of Architectural Historians. Secondary duties will involve our Founding Era collections and Founders Online, and other Rotunda publications.
All our Rotunda publications are XML-based, usually deriving from TEI-encoded texts and delivered via a MarkLogic server. Work on Archipedia will involve processing new content (delivered as XML or transformed from other file types), doing validation and quality control, and adding or verifying the metadata connected with building entries (geospatial data, controlled subject vocabulary terms, event history, etc.), in collaboration with other Rotunda staff and SAH editors and volunteers. Incumbents who have or can acquire skills in Web development and XML programming will also participate in extending the functionality and feature set of SAH Archipedia.
The University of Virginia has a long tradition of excellence in the digital humanities and digital library work, hosting groups and projects such as the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, the Scholars’ Lab, SHANTI, NINES, and the Rossetti Archive.
Following is the text of the position description at UVA Human Resources. To view it and additional information, go to https://jobs.virginia.edu/, select “Search Postings” and search for Posting Number 0612615.
The University of Virginia Press is seeking to fill the position of Editorial and Technical Specialist for its Electronic Imprint. This position is responsible for technical editing and quality control of digital documents for the ROTUNDA imprint, and managing workflow of files received from authors and conversion vendors. It is also responsible for assisting with technical architecture and planning of ROTUNDA publications, and for development of tools and procedures to be used in production workflows and publications.
For more information about the University of Virginia Press, please visit our website at http://www.upress.virginia.edu/. Our ROTUNDA imprint is described at http://www.upress.virginia.edu/rotunda/.
This position is a restricted position. Continued employment in this position is contingent upon satisfactory performance and the availability of funding.
To apply, applicants must complete a staff application through Jobs@ (https://jobs.virginia.edu), search for posting number 0612615 and electronically attach the following: a cover letter of interest, a resume and contact information for three references.
The University of Virginia Press and the University of Virginia welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities; we seek to build a culturally diverse intellectual environment and are committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity and to the principles of affirmative action in accordance with state and federal laws.
- ‘People of the Founding Era’ Launches July 3, 2013
UVa Press announces the release this week of a powerful new online resource, People of the Founding Era, a digital biographical dictionary that will be open to the public during its beta release.
Developed in collaboration with Documents Compass, a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, People of the Founding Era provides biographical information for thousands of individuals active during a crucial period in American history. Beginning with 12,000 but eventually expanding to over 60,000 people born between 1713 and 1815, the subjects include members of many of the most important families of the era, as well as individuals—such as artisans, merchants, slaves, and Native Americans—whose lives are not typically documented in historical archives.
Finding information on such a large population, and covering such a broad area of history, would have once required access to hundreds of volumes of historic documents. People of the Founding Era makes that information immediately accessible and offers entirely new ways of discovering connections between individuals.
“From family history to teaching and scholarly research, The People of the Founding Era is a new kind of digital tool,” said Mark H. Saunders, Interim Director of the UVa Press. “Drawing on decades of documentary editing and the methodologies of prosopography, married with digital humanities, this resource not only provides biographical information; it assembles and visualizes that information in exciting new ways.”
An innovative “faceted browsing” approach allows users to search across the resource or to access populations by groupings such as place, gender, occupation, or enslavement. All entries include some biographical data, and many have a complete profile—full name, birth date, place of birth, death date, place of death, occupation, gender, and nationality. The relationships between subjects, including kinship, are driven by structured tagging and presented within each entry. Information in many of these entries has been extracted directly from the Papers projects in Rotunda’s American Founding Era collection: in these cases, People of the Founding Era links back to the original references within their respective editions, so users may explore more fully the context in which the individual was originally documented.
Historians, genealogists, and all students of American history will find in the People of the Founding Era the most authoritative biographical dictionary of the period, and more.
Rotunda publications are produced by staff members of the University of Virginia Press. For more information on Rotunda or UVa Press, please contact Emily Grandstaff at 434-982-2932 / firstname.lastname@example.org. Institutions or individuals interested in purchasing, please contact Jason Coleman at email@example.com
- New Rotunda content: Jefferson, Madison, Washington June 18, 2013
We have added new content to our Rotunda Founding Era collection representing a total of nearly 20,000 documents, from the papers of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.
Papers of Thomas Jefferson Retirement Series
The full contents of volumes 5–7 of the Jefferson Retirement Series are now in Rotunda, including front matter, index entries, and illustrations (permissions allowing). Totaling over 1600 documents, these volumes cover the period from May 1812 through September 1814, coinciding with the major portion of the War of 1812. Jefferson advises the Madison administration on conduct of the war as well as domestic matters, administers Monticello amidst legal problems, discusses patents and the life of Meriwether Lewis, and begins to develop plans for the University of Virginia. The volumes also contain about fifty letters from the correspondence between Jefferson and John Adams that had resumed at the start of 1812.
In addition, the underlying XML files for volumes 1–4 have been revised by staff at the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, incorporating corrections and providing higher-resolution pointers from index entries to document locations.
Early Access Madison and Washington documents
Thanks to the “Early Access” transcription program under way at Documents Compass, we are able to add to our Rotunda collection about 18,000 documents from the Madison and Washington Papers projects that have not yet appeared in published volumes:
- 5788 documents from the Madison Papers, covering 1806–March 1809 and March 1814–March 1817 (the end of his time as secretary of state, and the last portion of his presidency)
- 12,240 documents from the Washington Papers, covering March 1780–December 1783 and April 1796–March 1797 (the latter portion of his Revolutionary War career, and the last year of his second term as president)
Rotunda’s Early Access documents are made freely available to the public. Customers who have purchased one or more of our Founding Era publications will note that EA documents are integrated into the results of any searches they do across the collection.
- Founders Online Launches June 12, 2013
The University of Virginia Press announces this week the launch of Founders Online, a website offering free access to the papers of six of the most important figures from America’s founding era—George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. The site will make nearly 120,000 documents freely accessible to the public. Developed by the Press’s electronic imprint, Rotunda, Founders Online will be officially launched at a ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on June 13. University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan will offer remarks on this unique collaboration between the Archives and the University.
Starting in 2011, Rotunda staff began developing the Founders Online platform under a cooperative agreement with the National Archives of the United States’ grant-making arm, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The content is derived from two sources: our Rotunda American Founding Era collection, based on published letterpress editions, and transcriptions of thousands of documents being made available on a “pre-press” basis thanks to the Early Access program undertaken by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities’ Documents Compass program.
Founders Online will include thousands of documents, replicating the contents of 242 volumes of the published print editions. As each new print volume is completed, it will be added to the database. All of the “Early Access” materials—an additional 55,000 unpublished and in-process documents—will be posted online over the next three years. Students and researchers will be able to view transcribed, unpublished letters as they are being researched and annotated by the documentary project editors and staff. Together, some 175,000 documents are projected to be on the Founders Online site.
“UVa Press is honored to be working with the NHPRC on Founders Online,” said Mark H. Saunders, Interim Director of the University of Virginia Press. “This resource brings together the papers of six major founders in a user-friendly website that gives Americans and people around the world a first-hand account of the historic conversation that formed our democracy and allowed our country to thrive.”
“This resource will be of immense value for the public to understand both the world and intentions of the nation’s founders,” said Kathleen Williams, Executive Director of the NHPRC. “Founders Online provides a bold economic, educational, and technical model that will yield important lessons as we plan for future online publication of historical materials.”
Founders Online represents the cumulative work of hundreds of historians, editors, publishers, and (more recently) computer programmers over the decades since the first modern documentary editions began with the publication in 1950 of the first volume of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson by Princeton University Press.
We wish especially to acknowledge the current and former UVAP staff members and collaborators who have made Founders Online possible. Thanks to former Rotunda staffers John Carlson and Mary Ann Lugo, who oversaw much of the digitization and XML conversion, under the guidance of editorial and technical manager David Sewell; Rotunda senior programmers Shannon Shiflett and Tim Finney, who developed the original delivery platform used in our Rotunda Founding Era collection; Rotunda editorial and technical specialist Markus Flatscher, who oversaw the bulk of our digital conversion and handled the XSLT conversion of files received from the Jefferson Retirement Series into our own XML format; editorial assistant Virginia (Annie) Kinniburgh for proofreading and formatting; former UVA Press director Penny Kaiserlian and current interim director Mark Saunders, who handled the negotiations for our collaborative agreement with the NHPRC; and The Ivy Group of Charlottesville, for initial design requirements, user surveys, mockups, and prototypes—the look and feel of Founders Online owes much to their work. All of the XML data analysis and conversion and MarkLogic XQuery/XSLT programming for the new Founders Online platform have been done by David Sewell and Tim Finney.
We could not have completed our digital editions without assistance from the Founding Fathers projects: Jeff Looney, Susan Spengler, and Lisa Francavilla of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson—Retirement Series; Mary Jo Kline, who served as the editorial consultant for our work with the Papers of Alexander Hamilton; Ted Crackel (retired) and Jennifer Stertzer at the Papers of George Washington; Sara Sikes and her staff at the Adams Papers; Martha King at the Papers of Thomas Jefferson; John Stagg and David Mattern of the Madison Papers; and Alysia Cain of the Franklin Papers and her graduate assistant, Michael Hattem.
Finally, we recognize the invaluable assistance of our third-party vendors and the creators of software that we use: HCL America for their XML conversion; MarkLogic, which produces the native XML database platform that delivers Founders Online; and IBM Global Business Services, partnering with SOASTA, performed state-of-the-art load testing on the completed FO platform. Our work with large and complex XML datasets would be much more difficult without the excellent software provided by SyncRO Soft, the creators of oXygenXML and Michael Kay, creator of Saxon.
A video about the making of Founders Online may be viewed below or through this link.
- Adams Papers: Three new volumes in ROTUNDA April 26, 2013
We have released three new digital editions of volumes from the Adams Papers project (sponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society and published by Harvard University Press) in Rotunda’s Adams Papers Digital Edition. As for previously released volumes in the Adams Papers, we include the full textual content of the letterpress volumes and all graphics for which permission is available, and a hyperlinked version of the indexes for each volume.
New in this release, and added to all previous volumes of the Adams Papers Digital Edition, are mouseover expansions of all of the Adams family code abbreviations used in the edition (such asfor Abigail Adams [1765–1813], daughter of John and Abigail).
Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8, drawing from nearly 250 letters, follows the Adams family from March 1787 to the close of 1789. The correspondence covered in this volume evokes a period of transition both for both the nation and the Adams family. John Adams made the transition from the first Minister to the Court of St. James to first Vice President of the United States under the new Constitution, after only a brief respite at their newly acquired farm in Quincy, which John Adams named Peacefield. Meanwhile, their daughter Nabby, married in 1786, gave birth to John and Abigail’s first grandchildren, and their sons, John Quincy, Charles, and Thomas Boylston, furthered their studies at Harvard and embarked on their own legal careers.
Volume 9 of the Adams Family Correspondence chronicles the early years of the American republic under the new Constitution with Vice President John Adams faithfully presiding over the Senate. Internationally, the United States faced diplomatic challenges as the outbreak of the French Revolution raised questions about the position and response the nation should take in regard to both France and Europe in general. On the domestic front, all of the Adams children completed their transition to adulthood, with the youngest son, Thomas Boylston, graduating from Harvard. The correspondence of the children, both among themselves and to their parents, takes center stage in this volume of nearly 300 letters spanning from January 1790 to December 1793 and reveals not only their sentiments on national and world events, but also the intimate details of family and farm.
The 350 letters of The Papers of John Adams, volume 14, explore the slow and difficult diplomatic conclusion to the American Revolutionary War from October 1782 to May 1783. Wary of France’s motives and desirous of establishing a fully independent way, John Adams and the American Peace Commissioners determined to strike a peace with Great Britain separate from France, but issues ranging from loyalists to fishing rights slowed progress. Meanwhile, Adams continued his role as minister to the Netherlands overseeing the distribution of funds of the Dutch-American loan, followed fifteen-year-old John Quincy’s long journey from St. Petersburg to The Hague, and took a keen interest in how best to write an accurate history of the American Revolution. As always, Adams’s letters reveal a wealth of insight into not only the history of the period but his own thought processes.
(UVA Press wishes to thank Sara Sikes of the Adams Papers, and her staff, for assistance with proofreading of the digital volumes.)
- Dolley Madison Digital Edition: 300 New Documents April 24, 2013
Our Dolley Madison Digital Edition, edited by Holly C. Shulman, has been updated with 300 new documents, 360 additional identifications of people, places, and terms, and six new editorial essays exploring aspects of Dolley’s life during her widowhood in the 1840s.
This latest installment of the DMDE takes the reader through 1844 and the sale of Montpelier, the Madisons’ estate in Orange County, Virginia. In 1844 Dolley finally realized that her debts (and those of her son, John Payne Todd) had become too great for her to continue running the property; her only choice was to sell. This she did to a Richmond merchant with local family connections, Henry Wood Moncure. After 1844 Dolley would never again return to Virginia. As of this installment the reader has now twenty editorial essays on topics ranging from the enslaved community at Montpelier to the nineteenth-century “autographomania” that led collectors to seek out James and Dolley Madison’s signatures. Among the new biographical identifications are entries on nearly twenty members of the Montpelier slave community. Also new are three high-resolution images of Montpelier survey plats from the Orange County Courthouse that accompany an editorial essay by Ann L. Miller.
The images in the gallery below are scans of plats based on surveys in preparation for the sale of the Montpelier estate. The largest plat, covering two pages, includes the entire plantation and immediate surroundings.
Forthcoming installments of the DMDE will focus on Dolley’s life after her return to Washington, DC, locally honored and publicly feted, while privately still struggling to keep herself financially afloat.
- The Creation of the First Lady March 14, 2013
Holly Shulman—editor of the Dolley Madison Digital Edition and coeditor of the forthcoming People of the Founding Era—took part in James Madison University’s presidential inauguration festivities by delivering a new lecture, “Dolley Madison and the Creation of the First Lady.” Shulman, who is also coeditor of The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, explained that Dolley was hardly immune to criticism—few first ladies are—but that she persevered to become a great stabilizing force for her husband and for his White House. She also played an enormous role in shaping our idea of what a first lady should be.
- ROTUNDA new titles for ACRL March 1, 2013
People of the Founding Era
The latest addition to our American Founding Era collection, this resource provides biographical information for thousands of individuals active during a crucial period in our history. Beginning with 12,000 but eventually expanding to over 60,000 people born between 1713 and 1815, the subjects include members of many of the most important families of the era, as well as many people—including artisans, slaves, and Native Americans—whose lives are not typically documented in historical archives. Historians, genealogists, and all students of American history will find this the most authoritative biographical dictionary of the period. For more information about this publication, please go here.
The Society of Architectural Historians’ Buildings of the United States series is one of the most valuable resources for a comprehensive view of each state’s most notable buildings. Now ROTUNDA brings this content online in this richly illustrated, peer-reviewed digital resource. Including over 11,000 entries in its first installment, SAH Archipedia features all of the material from the print edition plus exclusive online content, with over 8,000 illustrations (many in color), mapping functionality, and a powerful XML-based search.
The Digital Temple
George Herbert’s The Temple is considered one of the finest collections of devotional verse in the English language and among the most significant works of early modern literature. The Digital Temple brings together the primary materials essential to the study of Herbert’s English verse and presents them in a user-friendly online environment. This digital edition includes complete diplomatic and normalized transcriptions of the two known manuscripts of The Temple, in addition to a copy of the 1633 first edition. The 700 pages of high-resolution scans include each document in its entirety. For more information, read this.
Check It Out
ACRL attendes, please visit us at Booth #640 to see a demonstration of these titles. You may also apply for a free trial of our entire ROTUNDA selection of digital titles. Contact Jason Coleman, ROTUNDA marketing manager, for pricing and availability at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-924-1450.
Older posts from before 2013 are available in the Rotunda news archive.