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Reaching for the Stars: Neilson Library and Kahn Institute Staff Develop ePublishing Initiative
Star Messengers

Publication is the lifeblood of scholarly communication. Books, journals, collections of papers and essays, and other print publications have traditionally served as a critical avenue for researchers to share their work. However, as anyone who has recently tried to find a publisher for a paper or manuscript has learned, getting research results published is becoming increasingly difficult. The cost of publishing books and journals has risen steadily, forcing some university and other academic publishers to suspend operations or cut the number of new titles they produce each year. As a result, competion for publication opportunities for scholars has become increasingly fierce.

Over the past 18 months, staffs at Neilson Library and the Kahn Institute have developed a new publication opportunity for Faculty Fellows from Kahn projects. Working with the Dspace system that the College already uses to publish student theses, we have developed a new electronic publishing system that can be used for a variety of scholarly work. The group chose as its pilot project Star Messengers, a musical theatre work by Paul Zimet, Associate Professor Emeritus of Theatre. Zimet and Richard White, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, were the Organizing Fellows of the 1998-1999 Kahn long-term project Star Messenger: Galileo at the Millennium. As a direct outcome of that project, Zimet wrote a script titled Star Messengers about the lives and work of Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler; Ellen Maddow wrote the music for the piece. It was produced and performed at Smith in April of 2000; it was subsequently produced at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in New York City in November 2001 by Talking Band.

Star Messengers contains a wealth of information inspired by the personalities and scientific theories of Galileo and Kepler. It also demonstrates instances where music and science intersect, making the plan an excellent interdisciplinary educational tool. Zimet approached the Kahn Institute about finding a way to share the work with a wider audience, particularly with educators who wanted to use it as a creative way to explore the scientific topics it presents.

After exploring a number of possible publication options, the Kahn turned to the Neilson Library Digital Services group to begin exploring and developing a Smith-based publication option for Star Messengers and others works developed by Kahn Fellows.

Kahn Institute staff worked with the authors to editorially prepare the manuscript for publication, to secure necessary permissions, to apply a copyright license through the Creative Commons organization, and to develop the metadata (e.g., abstract, keywords) that could be used to describe and search for the finished publication. Neilson Library staff created an electronic framework for publication, secured an ISBN for the new publication, and incorporated it into the library's electronic holdings in a way that it can be searched for through their WorldCat electronic catalog, through Google Scholar, and through other search engines.

Star Messengers was e-published in August, 2011, and can be found online (click here to view it) as part of the Neilson Library collection. Work on a second ePublication has already begun. We are hopeful that the new system will become a vibrant and successful way to share the rich output of faculty research inspired by participation in Kahn Institute projects.


In This Issue

Cover Story

Making ePublishing a Reality

From the Director

A Note from the Director

Fellowship News

Altering Bodies & Minds

Mothers & Others: Reproduction, Representation and the Body Politic

Fellowship News: 2011-2012 Fellowships Awarded

Project News and Reports

Excavating the Image: Pennsylvania Excavation by George Bellows

The Making and Meaning of Dress

The Mill River Greenway Initiative:
A Collaborative Project

Year-End Project Report: Why Educate Women?

News & Events

Upcoming Lectures

Kahn Institute Now on Facebook

Faculty Fellows Share Descriptions of Their Work

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