In 2018, Liverpool University Press was selected as one of ten presses – and the only press based in Europe – for funded training and installation of the Manifold platform for the publication of networked and enhanced ebooks. Developed by the University of Minnesota Press, the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and digital development agency Cast Iron Coding, with financial backing from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Manifold is an open-source platform where publishers can publish digital resources to create a truly collaborative experience for readers and authors alike. Features include annotation, highlighting, bookmarking, community sharing, discussion threads, and metrics.
Liverpool University Press is delighted to announce the launch of Using Primary Sources on the Manifold platform, an Open Access teaching and study resource that combines rare archival source materials with high quality chapters by leading academics. To find out more about Using Primary Sources and our future projects on LUP’s Manifold site, we spoke to Editorial Director Alison Welsby.
For readers who have not heard of Using Primary Sources before, could you tell us a bit about the resource and how it can be used?
Using Primary Sources is a rich and varied collection of over 150 primary sources (letters, newspapers, photographs, legal documents, interviews, rare books, etchings and more) based on 20 thematic chapters in medieval, early modern and modern history, such as colonial violence, trade and commerce, memory, popular religion, environment, and secular power. By providing students with a digital collection of original archival material and a supporting chapter written by a leading academic in the field, students learn how to use primary sources in their own research, the questions they should consider when using primary sources and the challenges they have to overcome in interpreting the material.
Why was Using Primary Sources the first of our products to be launched on the LUP Manifold site?
Using Primary Sources originated from a Jisc funded project on e-textbook publishing, and was previously on a platform that allowed the material to be Open Access but key user features such as bookmarking and highlighting were only accessible via a library subscription. We therefore needed a platform that could hold a range of material yet also provide essential citation and annotation tools on a completely Open Access basis, with no hidden extras behind paywalls. Manifold is a brilliant platform that allows readers to access the material on desktop and mobile devices easily and, by a creating a free account, allows readers to cite, highlight, annotate and share the material on Twitter. It encourages community engagement by allowing users to read the comments of others and respond, or, if this is not required, a user can switch off this feature so they only see their own annotations.
What are the benefits of using Manifold for readers and for authors?
The main benefits are that it is completely free to use and allows readers to comment and share the material, therefore creating an engaged community around the project. This undoubtedly benefits the author, strengthening the impact of their work to a wider audience. It also allows an author to make research material that could not be reproduced in a printed edition of the work accessible, such as lengthy appendices, accompanying images and audio transcripts of interviews.
How can I access Using Primary Sources on the site?
By clicking on the site you can view all the material, but for a greater reading experience, I advise users create a free account at Manifold, which then allows you to select text in a chapter to share, annotate or highlight, see other readers’ highlights and annotations (or switch this off and just view your own), change the font of the text to serif or non-serif, increase the size of the text, change the background colour, and reduce or enlarge the margins. You can also switch on or off notifications about the project, any new material added, and any replies made to your comments.
What will LUP be using Manifold for in the future? Have you got the next project for Manifold lined up?
Manifold offers great potential to our authors, and as a university press it is imperative we provide the necessary tools to ensure our authors’ research is presented in the most accessible and beneficial way to readers. Not only do we have plans to expand Using Primary Sources with more themes and within other disciplines, we also plan to publish additional projects in our core subject areas. Our mission at Liverpool University Press is to select, develop and disseminate worldwide high quality research and learning materials, and Manifold will be a key component of this as we move forward in digital humanities.
To access Using Primary Sources on Manifold, visit the LUP Manifold site.
To find out more information about Using Primary Sources visit the Liverpool University Press website.
Liverpool University Press is a proud supporter of Open Access publishing with over 40 OA monographs currently available. You can find out more about our OA policy here and browse some of our OA titles on the OAPEN library.