In our attempt at creating
an economically viable model for the distribution of electronic
texts, the History E-Book project hopes to accomplish the following
- Encourage historians to discuss,
plan, and write electronic books.
- Encourage more scholarly
presses to experiment with, to consider the issues involved in,
and to develop in-house expertise for, electronic publishing.
- Streamline production processes
and reduce costs.
- Develop an infrastructure
that considers the importance of archiving scholarly texts for
the long term.
- Ensure that the recent emergence
of large commercial e-publishers does not take undue control
of the intellectual assets of the scholarly community.
- Work closely with scholarly
journals and learned societies to insure that electronic history
works are reviewed and promoted properly for the scholarly community.
- Encourage libraries to purchase
and make widely available historical works of high quality within
their emerging electronic collections.
- Actively encourage the acceptance
of electronic history within the historical profession for the
purposes of hiring, tenure, promotion, and related professional
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Over the next few years, phenomenal
changes in technology will take place; and new infrastructure
and standards, as well as new software tools and service vendors
will emerge and develop. Systems of production and distribution
of electronic texts will evolve, and a combination of commercial
and nonprofit organizations will serve the community. By necessity
in this rapidly changing environment, the project described here
does not explicitly commit forever to specific technologies,
nor will it permanently restrict participants to those indicated.
Rather, our project hopes that by focusing initially on a manageable
number of participants, we can jump-start the process and influence
this development. Throughout the development process, we will
remain flexible, ready to adapt and accept the most promising
new technologies and to work with different groups as new expertise
and special opportunities emerge.