Anthem Library of the Month | NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

© 2012 Melville House

The New York Public Library is an oasis in mid-town, a temple dedicated to intellectual pursuits, with wonderful marble staircases, tromp l’oeil ceilings, and those lions that roar every time a virgin walks past.  I’m sitting in the main reading room. Amazingly there is free public access and you don’t even need a library card to read a book.  Most people are students and researchers, but occasionally tourists walk in off the street, and bums.  In his autobiography Bob Dylan talks about how he, when he first got to New York, sat here reading newspaper reports from the Civil War era. That’s right, spread that knowledge around!

I too read old newspapers.  I’ve been in hot pursuit of Le Moniteur universel for the last couple of months. Le Moniteur was the official newspaper of the French government and they dispatched a reporter to China in 1860. No historian, to my knowledge, has used this source before.  And I know why: at the Biblioteque Nationale in Paris they don’t have a hardcopy left and the microfiche is impossible to read.  Much to my surprise, however, there is a copy of the Moniteur here at the NYPL!

The book has to be specially ordered of course, and when it eventually arrives it turns out to be an enormous volume — one meter by a meter and a half.  Everyone in the reading room is looking at me as I carry it back to my desk — “there goes a true researcher!” — and one tourists asks me “what’s that big book you’re reading?”

Then disaster strikes. 19th century publications used very acidic paper and it crumbles easily. This is particularly true of newsprint. The NYPL has the airconditioning on — strong fans that whip the air around powerfully enough for many readers to wear sweaters even in the summer. As I excitedly open my old newspaper, the pages crumble and the fans pick up the pieces and lift them high up in the air. Again everyone turns their head.  A true researcher no more! My precious source disappeared in a dustbowl.

—Erik Ringmar, Anthem Global Media and Communication Studies, author of A Blogger’s Manifesto

ACRL 2013 | Imagine, Innovate, Inspire

ACRL 2013

This past week, Anthem attended the ACRL 2013 conference in Indianapolis. As an academic press, developing and maintaining our relationships with academic institutions is key. Thus, having this opportunity to meet our valued librarians face-to-face was both an enjoyable and insightful experience. The publishing industry is in constant flux and the librarians have a front row seat to the change. With the transition to electronic platforms, increasing institutional budget cuts, and varying purchase processes, being able to talk to our consumer allows us to help better serve them.

It was a wonderful experience and Indianapolis provided a charming and friendly atmosphere to this productive exchange of ideas and information. We look forward to meeting with everyone again in the future.

Anthem Library of the Month | MOORLAND-SPINGARN LIBRARY

© 2012 Ph.D. Octopus

I  was recipient of a research grant from the Lilly Foundation that allowed me to work with an African-American scholar at Howard University.  A primary goal of the grant was for me to learn about African-American contributions to my area of study.  During my initial visit to Howard University I learned about the Moorland-Spingarn Library that is located there.  It is recognized as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections that documents the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world.  The Moorland-Spingarn Library collects, preserves, and makes available for research a wide range of resources that chronicle the Black experience.  I did numerous visits to Howard University during and after my grant period and was impressed with the holdings of the Moorland-Spingarn Library and the services conveyed by the staff.  Certainly a unique and vibrant contribution to learning.

—Jim Schnell, Ohio Dominican University; Anthem Global Media and Communication Studies

Anthem Series Spotlight | Key Issues in Modern Sociology

Sociology, as the systematic study of social institutions, inevitably looks at how major institutional areas (the political, the legal and the economic) intersect and mutually shape each other. At the same time, to quote the famous words of American sociologist C. Wright Mills, sociologists concern themselves with the interface between “private troubles and public issues.” Anthem Key Issues in Modern Sociology publishes books that explore these characteristics of  sociology – how societies are interconnected systems and how social change at the institutional level has unavoidable consequences for the everyday world. How does the public realm connect with the private?

The quest of Anthem Key Issues is to publish ‘big books’ on ‘big issues’: climate change; religion, violence and the state; social movements and radical politics; democracy and its problems; neoliberalism and social change; the city and sustainability. At no time in recent history has sociology been more relevant to the analysis of modern crises and developments. Anthem Press has a bold and imaginative publishing strategy that aims to capture this opportunity to publish sociological texts that can change our world for the better.

Key Issues publishes studies of contemporary social theory – such as the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Luc Boltanski – but it also reflects the classical  tradition of sociology aiming to publish works on Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. It has a catholic view of social theory in which the series publishes studies, for example of  A.N. Whitehead.

Globalization is changing our world radically. The series seeks to reflect these changes through the topics included (such as Christian evangelism in modern day China) and through the authors it include

—Bryan S. Turner, Series Editor of Key Issues in Modern Sociology
City University of New York, USA & University of Western Sydney, Australia

From the Editor’s Desk | How We Choose What to Publish

The first in a series of short posts designed to give a glimpse into the inner workings of academic publishing at Anthem.

Anthem Press is made up of distinct but overlapping divisions (have a look at the structure of our lists), but our bread and butter – and the real backbone and soul of the company – is high-quality peer-reviewed scholarly book publishing. As such, separating the wheat from the chaff is the most crucial first step in deciding what to publish (to see what’s made the cut recently, have a look at our forthcoming titles).

We specialise in a wide range of subject areas, and our key strengths lie in the social sciences and humanities with an international scope. (We publish monographs and edited volumes in both established and emerging fields, and develop series across a wide spectrum of topics.) We build up subject expertise internally, but we also bring in expert external advisors who are invaluable to our decision-making process.

Our series editors – academics themselves who work with us across a number of titles to identify and develop great book projects – form a key, long-term advisory resource that we draw upon to select new, significant and worthwhile scholarship to publish. We also request one-off advice from other external academic consultants, and we put every scholarly book we publish through the rigours of a serious and substantive peer-review process.

Before a proposal gets to that trial by fire, it undergoes an initial assessment on a range of factors, including its fit (for Anthem and our series) and its commercial viability. After our initial academic consultants weigh in and the publishing committee have decided that a proposal looks good, we like to strike while the iron is hot.

With many years of experience in the industry, we have confidence in our ability to choose good projects and see them through, so we’ll issue a ‘subject to peer review’ contract to the author or editor straight away. This practice works well for us since it motivates early commitment – both from us and our authors – and helps avoid the prospect of a great book project languishing in the pre-production marshes. Thanks to the checks we put in at the earliest stages, we rarely have to give a contract back.

The process of deciding what to publish is probably one of the single most exciting parts of academic publishing, but it’s also a big responsibility, and we take it seriously. It means putting time and effort into getting it right – it means finding the most original, rigorous, fascinating scholarship and giving it a voice.

Anthem Library of the Month | BIBLIOTHEQUE DES AMIS D’INSTRUCTION

© 2012 ParisRevu

The Bibliothèque des Amis d’Instruction (Library of the Friends of Education) was a workers’ self-help library founded in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris in 1861 by a group of artisans led by the lithographer Giraud. It claims to be the first lending library ever established in the city. It still exists and functions in the rue de Turenne in the Marais area, and can be visited in monthly guided tours. The premises are cramped and narrow, the walls lined with dark wood. It’s an interesting survival of the world of the working-class intelligentsia of the mid-nineteenth century.

—Martyn Lyons, The University of New South Wales, Australia; Editorial Board member of Anthem Australian Humanities Research Series