Academics may cringe at the comparison, but that is essentially the idea behind the Oxford Bibliographies Online: Someone you trust telling you what, among endless options, you should read -- in classics, criminology, Islamic studies, social work, or any of the other 50 areas of study the Oxford University Press plans to add to the new online reference guide by the end of 2015.
Some in academic publishing think the latest twist in the story of Black Elk Speaks amounts to poetic justice. Others see a sign of just how vulnerable their industry is these days. In either case, this is the story of a book that is much loved and whose fate has been much debated.
A special issue of The Journal of Electronic Publishing being released today features a series of calls for change in the way university presses are run -- suggesting that the current business model is collapsing.
The essays in the journal argue that the strategy of bolstering the existing model of selling print versions of monographs is doomed to fail, even if many advocates for scholarly publishing have defended it amid the economic and technological changes of the last decade.