Yale Press Centennial: A Message from the Director
How better to begin a centennial year for Yale University Press (1908–2008) than in a position of strength. The Press has achieved considerable growth in the past five years and is now the largest books-only university press in the United States. And many other significant achievements have also paved the way to our second century.
On this site you will find details of a number of notable initiatives, such as the Margellos World Republic of Letters, an ambitious new literary translation series that I consider the fulfillment of a personal career dream. Publishing neglected masterworks of poetry and fiction is a meaningful way for the Press to extend its mission. In addition, our forthcoming Chinese language program sets a gold standard for language acquisition publishing. This project has the full support of Yale University and sets the stage for ways the Press can enhance Yale’s international ambitions.
The past several years have been a time for radical changes in academic publishing: in the ways books may be produced, in the digital and traditional markets in which books may be bought, in the ways information may be disseminated, and in the ways information is consumed. How to publish scholarship in the digital age is the single biggest question facing university presses.
We believe that the digital challenge is a tremendous opportunity for Yale University Press to refine and expand its mission. We also believe that the Press’s strength lies in the diversity of its publishing imprints and the distinction of its books. The times call for a rethinking of our institutional roles—not so much a change as a modernization of our operations. Our digital strategy has two approaches: the first is a continued digitization of our “legacy content” (the books in our backlist) and its dissemination through a diverse series of media outlets, and the second is the creation of our own digital publishing platform to host a new electronic publishing imprint for the Press.
The second initiative will be realized with the help of a major grant from the Mellon Foundation to develop the Digital Stalin Archive, an electronic repository of nearly half a million pages of primary documents that will be scanned, transcribed, and edited for translation and commentary. Needless to say, this is one of the most exciting and ambitious projects the Press has ever undertaken. It will situate us as curators and commissioners of scholarly and research materials as well as disseminators. The platform will someday be able to host other ambitious initiatives such as the Yale University Press Library of Religious Classics, which will include the Anchor Yale Bible and other emerging areas of study in religion.
I know I speak for everyone at 302 Temple Street and 47 Bedford Square when I say that we feel privileged to help usher the Press into its second century.