Monday, November 10, 2014

The University of Georgia Press and New Georgia Encyclopedia: A Collaboration of Like Minds

It's Day 1 of the American Association of University Press Week Blog Tour, and we'd like to start by applauding our friends at Duke University Press for their new book, THE MUTLISPECIES SALON, and how it epitomizes this week's theme—collaboration. In this new approach to writing culture, editor Eben Kirksey creates an anthology that brings together analyses of insects, animals, fungi, microbes, and humans with strands of economic, political, and social life. More information on the book can be found here, and there's also an outstanding companion site in the transmedia collection that's definitely worth checking out.

Roughly 350 miles away from Durham in Athens, Georgia, the spirit of collaboration is alive and well here at the University of Georgia Press. The primary mission of the UGA Press is to support and enhance the University of Georgia's place as a major research institution by publishing outstanding works of scholarship and literature by scholars and writers throughout the world. But in order to ensure knowledge was available to expand upon, the New Georgia Encyclopedia was born. Now this year, for AAUP Week, the encyclopedia is being acclaimed as a groundbreaking collaboration to make knowledge accessible to all.

On February 12, 2004 (aptly Georgia History Day) the New Georgia Encyclopedia launched with a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony.  What started with only 700 entries has grown into a scholarly monolith of the state's history, with over 2,000 articles and over 6,000 images.  It is the first state encyclopedia to to be conceived and designed exclusively for publication online, and it is the product of unification between The Georgia Humanities Council, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, the Office of the Governor, and the Press.

Though the content is exclusively digital, the award-wining encyclopedia has published two books with the Press to supplement the knowledge of Georgia history. In 2007, THE NEW GEORGIA ENCYCLOPEDIA COMPANION TO GEORGIA LITERATURE was published by the Press, and the anthology (which contains articles originally published online) collects biographical profiles of Georgia writers to highlight the state's literary contributions.

In 2011, THE CIVIL WAR IN GEORGIA: A NEW GEORGIA ENCYCLOPEDIA COMPANION was published, also by the Press. Edited by John C. Inscoe, editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, this groundbreaking work draws attention to the war's legacy, as well as originally published online articles that cover the prelude to the war and the war's years.

Director of the Press, Lisa Bayer, said, "The New Georgia Encyclopedia has become so deeply embedded in the ways in which Georgians of all ages (and people everywhere) learn about our state that I sometimes think we take it for granted. Where else can you find well-organized, vetted, expert information along with images, references, and crosslinking for free? We should be very, very proud—and supportive—of this amazing resource, which shares the rich history of our state with our world."

Kelly Caudle, project director and managing editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, elaborated on on how each compliments the other. "The NGE and the Press are natural partners, each doing its part to make the best scholarship on Georgia available to the academic community as well as the larger public," she said. "With a scholarly credibility endowed by the Press partnership, the NGE attracts a wide audience of readers curious about Georgia's stories—and in turn the NGE sends users straight to the authoritative source behind the entries: UGA Press books. It's been a mutually supportive partnership."

If you have any comments or are interested in learning more about the New Georgia Encyclopedia, the Press, or University Press Week, tweet to us at @UGAPress or talk to us on Facebook at the University of Georgia Press using the hashtag #upweek.