In February 2011, Duke University Press administered an online Library E-Book Acquisitions Survey. Thank you to all the librarians who participated. The information that you generously shared will be invaluable to our work making Duke University Press e-books meet the needs and exceed the expectations of your library and your patrons.
We are happy to share the report of our survey results here and hope that you will find them as interesting as we do. We welcome your comments and questions at email@example.com.
At its annual meeting last January, the American Dialect Society named a new chair of its New Words Committee: Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and Vocabulary.com, and until recently the On Language columnist for The New York Times Magazine. As part of his duties, Zimmer will take the helm of "Among the New Words," a long-running department in American Speech, the quarterly journal of the ADS published by Duke University Press. Zimmer will also oversee the selection of the ADS Word of the Year, an announcement that attracts extensive media attention. Here Zimmer reflects on his new role.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of "Among the New Words": Dwight L. Bolinger brought the feature to the pages of American Speech in 1941, after previously writing a new-word column called "The Living Language" for the Los Angeles-based magazine Words. It is a great honor to be carrying on this distinguished legacy, though I wonder what Bolinger would make of the linguistic landscape of the early 21st century, when innovative lexical formations spread like wildfire over Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.
As the digital age hastens the rapid circulation of new words and phrases, neologism-watchers can sometimes find themselves playing a more active role in the success or failure of language forms. The American Dialect Society's Word of the Year proceedings are closely watched by the media, and the ensuing coverage can occasionally help to solidify a word's place in the lexicon — even if ADS members might prefer to see themselves as neutral linguistic observers. One notable case where the WOTY choice represented something of a "thumb on the scale" of language came at the ADS annual meeting in Albuquerque in January 2006 (my first). After much debate, truthiness was selected as the 2005 Word of the Year, even though its parodic use by faux-pundit Stephen Colbert was still quite fresh at the time. As I observed in an On Language column celebrating the fifth anniversary of truthiness, the ADS unwittingly played a major role in catapulting the Colbertism into the public consciousness.
Even when the Word of the Year is not so brand-new, the selection can have significant repercussions. That is certainly the case with the 2010 winner, app, an abbreviated form of "(computer) application." Though it can be dated back to 1985, app has been given a new lease on life lately. As I said in the press release accompanying the announcement, "App has been around for ages, but with millions of dollars of marketing muscle behind the slogan 'There’s an app for that,' plus the arrival of 'app stores' for a wide spectrum of operating systems for phones and computers, app really exploded in the last 12 months."
Much to my surprise, just three days after the announcement, my quote from the press release found its way into a brief filed by Microsoft, contesting Apple's trademark claim for the phrase "app store." The selection of app as Word of the Year, along with my comment on the prevalence of "app stores" for mobile devices, served as fodder for Microsoft in its argument that the term "app store" is generic and not distinctive enough for Apple to maintain a trademark. (The fact that I quoted Apple's popular slogan, "There's an app for that," went unremarked by Microsoft's lawyers.)
And just last week, the WOTY choice was in the news again, since Apple sued Amazon for opening up an "Appstore" to sell apps for Google's Android devices. An article on CNN.com about the "app store" feud quoted me along with fellow ADS members Wayne Glowka (who edited "Among the New Words" from 1997 to 2008) and Bill Kretzschmar (who was responsible for nominating app from the floor at our January meeting). I pondered further on the trademark squabble in my Word Routes column for the Visual Thesaurus, as well as in a piece for The New York Times Week in Review entitled "The Great Language Land Grab."
In my first installment of "Among the New Words" (to appear in the June issue of American Speech) I will be surveying the various nominees for 2010 Word of the Year, including subcategories such as Most Euphemistic, Most Likely to Succeed, and Most Outrageous. In the main category, app beat out another three-letter word: nom, an onomatopoetic form suggesting pleasurable eating, used as an interjection, noun or verb. Nom traveled from Sesame Street's Cookie Monster (whose voracious noises are often represented as "om nom nom nom") to the online images known as "lolcats," and on to wider usage thanks in part to Twitter.
I suspect Bolinger would have appreciated the earthy joys of nom. After all, in a 1940 article in American Speech, Bolinger observed how imitative expressions like humph, ahem, pish, and tsk often get turned into "real words" by "pronouncing them as spelled rather than articulating the sounds they were intended to represent." And among the first batch of neologisms he provided for "Among the New Words" the following year was none other than burp — like nom, a kind of digestive onomatopoeia that can be pressed into service as a noun or verb. Plus ça change!
The Duke community is mourning the death of Reynolds Price, Professor of English for over fifty years and beloved author of more than three dozen books. The New York Times called him "one of the most important voices in modern Southern fiction" in their obituary. At Duke he is remembered also as a beloved teacher whose rich, deep voice was instantly recognizable on campus. Duke President Richard Brodhead told the News and Observer, "Reynolds was a part of the soul of Duke; he loved this university and always wanted to make it better. We can scarcely imagine Duke without Reynolds Price." At Duke Press we were proud to publish Price's notebooks in 1998, in the form of the book Learning a Trade: A Craftsman’s Notebooks: 1955-1997. Critics praised the book for giving readers a look into the workings of the mind of an author. "Learning a Trade is a rare contemporary example of [a published working journal], giving us an almost full documentary of the mind of this author," wrote Alexander Theroux in the Wall Street Journal. Duke University Press Books Marketing Mangaer Emily Young sums up our experience working with Price: "It was an honor to be able to work with him on this project and to share in his unending generosity and enthusiasm for the craft of writing and teaching others about writing. And his deep appreciation for the role of publishing was felt in every email and conversation. He wrote in an email to me, after a meeting to discuss how to market his book, 'delighted to know the staff are hopeful—thanks again for all the good feeling.' And now we say thank you, Reynolds Price, for all the good feeling you brought to our world at here Duke Press. You will be missed."
AHPI aims to make art historical scholarship more widely accessible in both print and electronic forms. Authors whose projects are selected for inclusion in AHPI will receive financial assistance and guided support to acquire illustrations and secure permissions. All books published with AHPI support will appear in both print and digital editions. Once published, AHPI books will have an ongoing web presence on a shared website housing electronic enhancements to standard print publication, including but not limited to audio, video, illustrative material, animation, and podcasts, and will benefit from a robust print and digital marketing program.
We are sad to learn of the death of Louis Budd, former James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of English, former managing editor of American Literature, and editor of seven books with Duke University Press. Budd was 89 years old. He was a noted scholar of Mark Twain. At Duke Press, he edited a collection of books featuring the best writing on canonical American authors from the journal American Literature. They include On Poe, On Faulkner, On Melville, On Henry James, On Humor, and On Mark Twain. They are all still in print. Budd retired from Duke in 1991.
Kimberly Steinle, our Library Relations Manager; Beth Hoskins, our Library Relations Specialist; and Leslie Eager, our Institutional Exhibits and Direct Marketing coordinator; are in Charleston, SC, this week attending the annual Charleston Library Conference. Though they're busy talking with librarians about our electronic collections and attending panels to learn about changes in the library community, they kindly took the time to send along some photos:
Kim and Leslie man the booth at the vendor showcase.
Kim and Beth catch up with October Ivins, Consultant, Ivins eContent Solutions.
Busy vendors and librarians at the vendor showcase.
Sponsored by the National Science Council of The Republic of China (Taiwan), EASTS aims to bring East Asian and Western science and technology studies scholars and communities together by publishing research on how society and culture interact with science, technology, and medicine.
A few weeks ago, our Books Design and Production department took a field trip to one of our book printers, Edwards Brothers in Lillington, North Carolina. Designer Amy Ruth Buchanan was impressed: "During our tour of the plant, it was confirmed for me again that I am in the right business. I found all the paper, the huge printing presses, stacks of signatures waiting for binding, binding equipment, and rolls of foil for stamping spines totally thrilling. I really am a book-making geek. We were all especially impressed by the long tenures of the staff there. I think the "new guy" has been there for about seven years. The Director of Customer Service and Prepress has been with the company for 42 years." And Production Assistant Brittany Miller said she "enjoyed seeing the mechanics of printing. All too often we forget the physical labor and technical skills that are involved in the publishing process. We were able to see just how enthusiastic and learned our book-makers are!" Brittany was inspired to take some gorgeous photos of the workings of the factory. We share some here, and you can see the rest on our Facebook page.
Janell Watson, editor of the minnesota review (new to Duke University Press in 2011), recently sat down to discuss the journal with us. In the video below she recounts her first encounter with the journal at the MLA, considers the journal's future under her editorship, and lets us in on what the minnesota review looks for in new submissions.