Category Archives: Interesting Developments

The New Face of Vanity Publishing?

Image by Doug Wheller

Image by Doug Wheller

I’ve complained once or twice on the internet (yeah, who am I kidding? Multiply by a factor of at least ten here) about self-publishers who claim that they are indie authors, when an indie author used to be someone who published with an independent press and a self-publisher was someone who published with a vanity press.

I was quite pleased to see this article by Henry Mance on the new face of vanity publishing, which he claims has been updated for the digital age. Now that any Tom, Dick or Harry can publish their own eBook, Henry Mance claims that vanity publishing has reemerged in a new form, which sees the big names like Sir John Hegarty, Charles Saatchi and Morrissey (yes, him again) publishing books to stroke their own egos. Henry’s article The Agony of Hegarty on Creativity is in the Financial Times Business Books section, so you may need to sign up for a free account to read it. It’s a stinger of a review though, so definitely worth the investment of the three minutes that it takes.

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The Republic of Letters Project at Stanford

Excuse me a moment, I have my geek hat on. In work today I heard about a really cool Digital Humanities project being developed at Stanford University which I thought that you might be interested in. It’s called The Republic of Letters and it is a big data project which allows users to map letters that were sent between European and American intellectuals during the Enlightenment and filter by writer and date to allow academics to draw conclusions from the data, making visual representations of Enlightenment era social networking.

An example of data mapping from the Republic of Letters project at Stanford University, copyright Stanford University.

Their website has some case studies and the tools section has some interesting screenshots, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in writers from the Enlightenment period. There’s loads of interesting information on the website. It’s really cool seeing a tool like this being developed and I can’t wait to see how it aids research in the Humanities. It could be like the use of satellite imaging in archeology and that’s thrown up some really interesting things.