This incredibly new book series from Open Humanities Press has got me all hot n bothered. Open Humanities is amazing; even moreso, the promise of a continually updated set of resources on the intersection of the humanities and sciences. Here’s the official description:
Funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), and published by Open Humanities Press (OHP) (http://openhumanitiespress.org), Living Books About Life is a series of curated, open access books about life — with life understood both philosophically and biologically — which provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. Produced by a globally-distributed network of writers and editors, the books in the series repackage existing open access science research by clustering it around selected topics whose unifying theme is life: e.g., air, agriculture, bioethics, cosmetic surgery, electronic waste, energy, neurology and pharmacology.
By creating twenty one ‘living books about life’ in just seven months, the series represents an exciting new model for publishing, in a sustainable, low-cost manner, many more such books in the future. These books can be freely shared with other academic and non-academic institutions and individuals. Taken together, they constitute an engaging interdisciplinary resource for researching and teaching relevant science issues across the humanities, a resource that is capable of enhancing the intellectual and pedagogic experience of working with open access materials.
All the books in the series are themselves ‘living’, in the sense that they are open to ongoing collaborative processes of writing, editing, updating, remixing and commenting by readers. As well as repackaging open access science research — along with interactive maps, visualisations, podcasts and audio-visual material — into a series of books, Living Books About Life is thus engaged in rethinking ‘the book’ itself as a living, collaborative endeavour in the age of open science, open education, open data and e-book readers such as Kindle and the iPad.
Perhaps this is the promised return of the medieval book, without author, with only author function. Living books about life, as opposed to dead books about death. I like it.