Quadrivium XI: The Academic Book of the Future

"Identity, Use and Creation of the Academic 'Books' for Medievalists", 25-26 February 2016, at the Centre for Textual Studies, De Montfort University

This was a two-day training event for doctoral students and early-career researchers in medieval studies, partially supported by the AHRC-funded projects 'The Academic Book of the Future' and the Quadrivium Network. The full report of this event is now available in the Quadrivium website (see links on the left).

The event addressed the questions surrounding the academic books for medievalists. In the 20th century, an academic book for medievalists was relatively easy to identify. It often embodied at least 20 years of rigorous scholarship. It was often a thick volume, hardcover, and published by a reputable publisher. It was a big, significant and eye-opening book, which would be read, referred and used over and over by all scholars in the field.

The new digital technologies have brought about a modification in the methodologies for researching, producing and delivering the scholarship. The merit of digital environment for scholarly publishing may now seem to be more than self-evident. Now that creating the 'impact' of our research on the world beyond academia is a compulsory element for our academic career, one may naturally think that publishing the digital 'books' (or resources) and distributing them online is the way to go. Indeed, many current researchers in the field have produced digital academic 'books'.

The scholarly community, however, has not come to a consensus as to what a digital academic 'book' looks like. How do we identify a digital academic book? How do we create it, and do we want/need to create it? If we make one, then, how do we ensure that all scholars in the field can continue to use it for years to come? And, how does the emergence of the academic book in digital format influence the way we create, use and value the print academic book? The event consisted of hands-on workshops drawn upon existing expertise and experience the Quadrivium team gained by working on AHRC-funded digital projects.