Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Series – Author’s Guide

Books in the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC) series will be published in a range of formats: all projects will have a digital component, and those for which the print medium is appropriate will also be made available for sale in print and as digital products based on the print version. Digital components will always be made available through open access.  Authors will have the opportunity to consult with editors and technology specialists to determine a format and presentation that is both suitable to the work and compatible with Michigan Publishing’s infrastructure.  For more information, contact SweetlandDRCBooks@umich.edu.

Titles to be made available in print

Titles that are made available in print will also be made available online using Michigan Publishing’s infrastructure for publishing open-access books.  See, for example: Digital Samaritans: Rhetorical Delivery and Engagement in the Digital Humanities by Jim Ridolfo, which is part of the digitalculturebooks imprint. Its full text is freely available, with a print copy available for purchase through the University of Michigan Press.

In order to ensure the long term preservation and accessibility of the final version of our publications, all content needs to fit the architecture of Michigan Publishing’s digital publishing system. The system allows for many features not available in print, but the text must form a linear narrative with a single primary serialization that is displayed in the table of contents, not hypertext with multiple paths through the text.

In general, your titles should follow the University of Michigan Press Author’s Guide when submitting your manuscript for all the material that will appear in the print version. In most cases, we are able to enhance the online version—and in the future, various e-book formats available for purchase—by embedding multimedia and adding hyperlinks.  (The exception would be works which will be presented as a series of page images.)

Multimedia can be offered as supplementary material available outside of the content that appears in print, or it can substitute for particular figures in the text.  If substituting, indicate this in the Figures document. The Press accepts the multimedia formats listed below.

Acceptable Multimedia Formats

Video

In order of preference, please deliver the highest quality version (H.264 codec if possible) in MPEG-4 (.mp4), Quicktime (.mov), or AVI (.avi) formats.

Michigan Publishing handles video delivery in digital texts by having authors or their institutions host videos on YouTube and embeds the YouTube video into the digital text. The high-quality preservation copy of the video file is stored on Michigan Publishing servers for future migration.

Audio

In order of preference, please deliver the highest quality version of your audio in AIFF (.aiff), Wave (.wav), or MPEG (.mp3).

Still Images

In order of preference, please deliver the highest quality version in the following formats: TIFF, JPEG 2000, PNG, JPEG, SVC.  Thumbnails, or lower-quality version of images for displaying inline with the text, should be provided in PNG or JPEG format.

Hyperlinks

If hyperlinks are to be added to digital editions, please insert these as hyperlinks in the Microsoft Word and indicate when submitting the manuscript that these are to be carried through to the online version. Keep in mind that they will not appear in the print version. If the link is critical, consider giving it in a bibliographic citation or endnote.

Other Media

While Michigan Publishing is able to include any type of material, hosted locally or externally as supplementary material, we are not always able to accommodate other types of content. If you have other material to incorporate into the text, please contact SweetlandDRCBooks@umich.edu to see if we can agree on a solution.

Titles to be available online only

Michigan Publishing supports new forms of scholarship designed for a digital medium, not derived from print.  Such scholarship is often called “born-digital,” though this is not to be confused with a broader definition of this term meaning any scholarship composed on a computer (rather than a typewriter or with pen and paper).

When possible, Michigan Publishing tries to fit such works of scholarship into our existing publishing infrastructures (DLXS, WordPress) and only add features to one of these infrastructures if we can use the features in other publications. In case a work of scholarship does not fit into these infrastructures or would require features that we don’t expect to use for other publications, we are willing to host a standalone website that conforms to the guidelines detailed below.

For example, a work could be presented as a free ebook file for users to download.  Alternatively, the work could be made available as a standalone website, perhaps with multimedia content.

Such sites are more expensive to produce than a print book because their production does not fit into our standard workflows and patterns.  Furthermore, as an online-only resource not fitting into a standard infrastructure, there is no way to recover the production costs.  Therefore, any such project will need a subvention for the production costs.  The production costs can vary greatly. If the author is able to deliver a complete web-ready product meeting the specifications for a standalone website, then the subvention only needs to cover the costs of copyediting.  On the other hand, if the author requires the creation of the site, the subvention will need to cover not only copyediting but also the hiring of a web designer to create the site.

Michigan Publishing strives for innovation and experimentation in scholarly publishing.  However, our chief priority is long-term preservation, both of the works themselves and readers’ access to them.  Over the years, we have built a common publishing infrastructure and workflow, building upon print-based publishing models to offer a preservable, manageable, maintainable and user-tested digital publishing platform.  Any work that doesn’t conform to our regular practices is necessarily compromised from a preservation standpoint.  The author must keep in mind that the more “exotic” their work, the greater probability that what future readers access will be a simplified, less-functional version of what was originally published.  In order to minimize this risk, digital files must conform to Michigan Publishing’s standards for media files, as well as the following requirements:

Web Technologies for Content and Presentation

Delivery

If the Work consists of more than a single file, then it should be delivered as a compressed archive (.zip or .tgz formats preferred), ready to be uncompressed in a web directory and be served as a functional website.  Any further requirements for functionality (such as server environment or configuration) must be addressed at the proposal stage.

Storage

Projects with total storage requirements in excess of 0.5GB will only be hosted by Michigan Publishing with prior consent.

Security

All executable code submitted for publication is subject to a security audit by Michigan Publishing staff before publication.  Publication may be delayed until any security vulnerabilities have been resolved.

Accessibility

All websites must conform to WCAG 2.0 Level A accessibility standards; conforming to Level AA is strongly recommended.  Please use the following tools to catch and correct the most common accessibility problems:

  • Colour Contrast Check – checks color contrast using WCAG 2.0 algorithms
  • WAVE – semi-automated web accessibility evaluation tool

Any proprietary or inaccessible formats (such as Adobe Flash or any video format) must include a transcription in order to make the content preservable and accessible to users with disabilities.

Downloadable Ebooks

Ebooks should conform to one of the following standard formats:

HTML

All HTML files must pass W3C validation (using the W3C Markup Validation Service) as one of the following document types:

All pages should be verified as free from broken links using the W3C Link Checker.  All internal hyperlinks should be relative, to ensure portability of the content.

The text of hyperlink should describe what is being linked to when taken out of context.

Example:

Bad: <a>click here</a>

Bad: <a>Abraham Lincoln</a>

Good: <a>biography of Abraham Lincoln</a>

CSS

All CSS files must pass CSS Level 3 validation using W3C’s CSS Validation Service.  While it’s common to allow for invalid CSS in order to address browser support issues, when necessary, we recommend the following techniques:

JavaScript

All JavaScript should pass JSLint validation with no errors, and conform to W3C web standards for scripting.

Scripts and code libraries must be available under a license approved by the Open Source Initiative.

Your website should still be functional, or equivalent content should be made available,  for a user who has JavaScript disabled (or in the event that the JavaScript is stripped out for preservation or security reasons).  Be sure to test your site thoroughly with Javascript disabled (Chrome’s Developer -> JavaScript Console is useful for this).

Other technologies

Any web technologies, languages, platforms, or applications not described above will require special consideration for the feasibility of long-term maintenance and preservation.  The use of such technologies in a web text must be approved at the proposal stage.

Branding

The footer of every page of the site should include, without modification, the HTML and CSS as provided here: http://jsfiddle.net/jmcglone/pLJbR/

Reporting Bugs

Any problems or failures with extant functionality of the site can be reported to either the technical contact specified in the Author’s Agreement, or to mpub-help@umich.edu.  If it is determined that the cause of the bug is in author-provided code, then it will be the responsibility of the author to submit the necessary fixes.

Hosting Content for review

The author will typically develop the digital work in a hosted environment by their own arrangement and make this version available for editorial and peer review.  The author may, with the approval of the Acquisitions Editor, make the work available to the public during the development and review stage.

In order to prevent a non-public review site from being indexed in search engines, the Author should place a robots.txt file in the root of their domain which includes the following:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /path/to/the/work

Handling multimedia and supplementary material in Michigan Publishing publications

Multimedia

Authors sometimes want to include material in their work that cannot be adequately represented in the medium or media provided by Michigan Publishing. We strive to provide the facility for such content in our electronic media such that one or more digital versions of the content will be richer than the print version(s).  For example, a journal presented online might contain an embedded video, whereas the PDF version would contain just a screenshot from the video.

Michigan Publishing will attempt to both render to users and preserve (for future digital versions) material that an author wishes to include in a work. In some cases this involves hosting the content on a third-party site and embedding a player in digital editions; in this case, Michigan Publishing will keep a version of the original file which could be referenced in case the third-party site is no longer available and to allow the content to be migrated to another system, likely under the control of Michigan Publishing, in the future. For example, a video might be put on YouTube but also kept in DLXS at /l1/img/c/collid/12345678.0000.001-00000002.mov for future use.

For works without a version hosted as digital text in DLXS (such as most UMP titles), Michigan Publishing is not yet in a position to create e-books containing embedded media. Therefore, we will treat such content as supplementary material (see below) for now.

Supplementary material

Sometimes an author desires to make available material not included in the published work itself. While this can occur in case of a work that is not published as digital text in DLXS (see above), the standard cases are either:

  1. a) the author does not wish to interrupt the flow of the text with an embedded version of the material but instead wants to refer to an appendix available online
  2. b) the author wants to be able to refer to a resource better presented in its native interface (such as a Flickr photo set) or to a dynamic resource that will be updated during and after the publishing process (such as sourcecode samples)

In these cases:

If a product page is available for the work (such as a UMP book), Michigan Publishing will provide a link to a persistent uniform resource locator (PURL) for the author for inclusion as a cross-reference in the text.  This PURL will resolve to the page of supplementary material. Those in category (a) will be hosted at Michigan Publishing to ensure their persistence.  Links will also be provided for those in category (b).

If a product page is not available for the work (such as for a journal article), the author must post the content to the Web and provide a reference to it somewhere within the text of the work.

Obtaining Permissions

Whenever possible, Michigan Publishing encourages authors incorporating copyrighted material into their own work to keep within the bounds of fair use (giving proper acknowledgment to the source).  When fair use is not possible, it is your responsibility to obtain permission to use copyrighted material, such as artwork (including figures and tables not of your own making), prose, poetry, lyrics, music, diaries, letters, and maps.  Please consult Author’s Guide – What Do I Need to Do About Permissions? for more information.