Project update, May 2011
UPNE and Dartmouth College Library Publishing Partnership

The Artistry of the Homeric Simile
William C. Scott

Ebook and print book publication, 2009,
Dartmouth College Library
in partnership with the
University Press of New England.


In 2008, the University Press of New England (UPNE) and Dartmouth College Library's Digital Publishing Program teamed up to publish The Artistry of the Homeric Simile, a new scholarly monograph by eminent Dartmouth emeritus professor William C. Scott, whose previous publications include The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile; Musical Design in Aeschylean Theater; Plato's The Republic (with Richard W. Sterling); and Musical Design in Sophoclean Theater.

Encouraged by his colleagues to publish his latest work electronically, Bill Scott approached the Library to see if this was feasible, which presented us with an ideal opportunity to collaborate with the University Press of New England (UPNE). The Press took the book through all the review, editing, design, and publicity stages that it normally would with any scholarly monograph; meanwhile, the Library took delivery of the final Adobe InDesign files and created from them both a PDF and XML version of the book (encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative international standard and exported as HTML) for online delivery.

On the day that UPNE released the print book for sale in October 2009, the Library launched a website containing freely available online copies (and also including an ebook version of Professor Scott's The Oral Nature of the Homeric Simile, published by Brill in 1974 and long out of print). The print version refers to the online text on its copyright page; the web version links to the UPNE website where one can buy the printed book (retail price $45.00).

The experiment allowed all parties to do what they did best, while engaging us all — author, publisher, and library — in an endeavor that taught us something new about the combination of print and electronic versions of a work of scholarship. "UPNE learned a lot about what it takes to publish a book for an essentially open access audience," said Michael Burton, Director of the University Press of New England. "It helped enormously to focus our thinking on the essentials and to get an idea of the different cost structure involved. Working with the Library has given us the confidence to push forward with other electronic projects."

The results have been gratifying: the book has been well-received by scholars, the initial print run of 250 has sold out, and the use of the online versions has been high:

HTML copies of the entire book viewed: 4,298
PDF copies of the entire book downloaded: 1,208

[The numbers for Bill Scott's re-published 1974 monograph referred to above are strong as well, with 2,325 HTML copies of the entire book viewed and 765 PDF copies of the entire book downloaded.]

Bill Scott observes that "as an author it has been surprising to see that the circulation of the book has been so rapid. In addition, I have received e-mail reactions from locations in the world where the book would not have been previously available." The provision of the full-text HTML book online also allows it to be much more easily discovered in Google — search for the words "Homer" and "simile" and this book comes up as the fifth result (behind Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers, Britannica Online, and A high profile indeed.

"This has been a successful collaboration with the University Press of New England," concludes Dartmouth's Dean of Libraries and Librarian of the College Jeffrey Horrell, "and we anticipate future publishing ventures between the Library and UPNE."

May 15, 2011