Happy New Year from Project MUSE!

Thank you publishers, libraries, and researchers for making 2012 the best year ever for Project MUSE.

How do we define success?

For the first time in our history, we will deliver more than $20 million dollars to more than 200 book and journal publishers. These funds will help scholarly not-for-profit publishers sustain their publishing programs and achieve their goals of advancing and disseminating knowledge.

We now have 2,700 libraries accessing the content on Project MUSE worldwide. We provide flexible pricing and licensing options to libraries for books and journals. We now have more than 550 journals available on the platform and this number will grow to 580 in 2013. Since 2000, our collection prices have generated more than $90 million in savings to libraries. For books, there are more than 140 collection-based options and a new single-title offer in 2013.

Here is an excerpt from a preprint of a forthcoming article, “E-Approval Plans in Research Libraries” in College and Research Libraries that talks about eBooks:

“[The] UPCC Book Collection clearly underscores core library values: no embargoes on the release of digital editions, no DRM, unlimited downloading and printing of book chapters, accessible on mobile devices, perpetual access rights for books purchased and ILL for individual book chapters.”

We responded to more than 400 instances of feedback from researchers on our new platform in 2012 and are committed to building an industry-leading user experience over the next two years that will maximize opportunities for the search and discovery of content.

These milestones could not be achieved without a passionate and dedicated staff—including Angie Fell, Chris Brown and Mark Malloy who make digital dreams a reality on a daily basis. There are talented staffers like Dr. Hadley Leach and Steven Allen who have diligently sifted through eBook metadata to ensure that the files are actually there to be published.  Tashina Gunning and Nancy Hafele work on the front lines to provide customers with price quotes and information.

From my perspective I work with the most talented 28 people in the digital publishing industry.

T.S. Eliot in 2013

We had a great meeting in November to talk about plans for The Complete Works of T.S. Eliot to be available on Project MUSE late next year. As a poet, I am a huge fan of Eliot and spent many hours trying to decipher “The Wasteland.” I was asked to read an Eliot poem to begin the meeting (one of the great perks of my job) and chose “The Hollow Men.”

I would read this one out loud as an undergraduate up studying all night.

Our first task will be to present the prose of T.S. Eliot—more than 700 essays, many of which have never been published.  Groundbreaking essays like “Tradition and the Individual Talent” and “Hamlet and His Problems” will be included. It may have been the poet Richard Jones who assigned the essay that forever changed the course of my life.  In it, I read the following passage:

“The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an “objective correlative”; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.”  — Hamlet and His Problems, 1925

I was hooked and have spent the rest of my life on a poetic journey in search of them.

Those words will be accessible on Project MUSE along with notes from scholars, references, and annotations.

Project MUSE offers “a set of objects” on its platform to be discovered. There are journal articles and eBooks chapters and thousands of results for T.S. Eliot already there. I was elated to find a publication by MUSE staffer Hadley Leach entitled “Thoreau’s Aphoristic Form” in the most recent issue of Arizona Quarterly. I have experienced great joy in finding the work of friends and colleagues Alan Michael Parker, Piot Gwiazda, Scott Hightower, Moira Egan, and Amy Lemmon.

More eBooks in 2013

We will have 23,000 eBooks from 83 publishers available in 2013. These books are currently being accessed in 16 countries around the world from El Salvador to Bangladesh to Singapore and we are just getting started. At the Charleston Conference this year, there was a strong response to our announcement that libraries will be able to purchase single titles of eBooks early next year.

Project MUSE serves the scholarly community—its publishers, libraries, and researchers—and we look forward to an exciting 2013.

In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Not fare well/But fare forward, voyagers.”

Thanks for reading,

Dean Smith

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