The new book Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future is now available from Cambridge University Press, including a free online version as PDF chapters. It seems a usefully comprehensive and dense primer on the subject. But fairly short, at 150 pages for the chapters. Chapters open in a PDF viewer in the browser, but if you use Internet Explorer it should ignore the javascript obfuscation and offer to let you download as a PDF file.

However it doesn’t seem to be a book to go to for an in-depth discussion of public discoverability and search. There is some slight discussion of discoverability on page 53, briefly suggesting that if the academy wishes to make a believable claim to act as an agent of social change, then it must pass its public-funded knowledge to all rather than allow it to be hoarded by a tiny elite. Page 101 discusses the adoption (or not) of text mining, briefly mentioning the discoverability experiments that text mining might enable.

Page 118 suggests that a curated monograph range at a publisher inherently contains a discoverability aspect (so long as the publisher’s publicist is doing their job assiduously, I’d add). If such a publisher also offers a ‘digital-first’ work-flow for monographs then an easy conversion to a mainstream .ePub or .mobi ebook is enabled, again adding discoverability potential (when the book pops on the Amazon Kindle store and suchlike, and/or in Open Access aggregators). In the Kindle Store discoverability shades over into readability, via the convenience of reading on dedicated ereaders rather than struggling with reading a PDF on a small tablet.

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