The MPub Archive: Positioning Graduate Work as Learning Resources

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipientJohn Maxwell, Publishing Program

Project team: Mary Schendlinger, Publishing Program, and Megan Radford, research assistant

Timeframe: September 2012 to April 2013

Funding: $3,780

Final report: View the final project report (PDF).

From the final report: "Making the archive fully digital, integrating it directly with our website and online resources, and compiling a much more usable set of metadata and descriptions for each item in the collection allows this archive to be consulted and browsed in a more immediate (and even casual) way by our students. ... This added immediacy will, we hope, help to integrate the archive and its materials in the day-to-day work of our students as well as to the larger publishing community across Canada." Read more >>

Description: The Master of Publishing (MPub) degree is now in its 14th year, and we have a trove of (roughly 200) project reports on subjects ranging from the editorial acquisitions process of a major scholarly publisher, to a digital-first editorial workflow experiment by a literary LGBT book publisher, to the groundbreaking literal and cultural translation of an 820-page Japanese graphic novel into English by a small Montreal company.

The project reports are filed with the library thesis office electronically in SFU's institutional repository with basic access and limited search function. Our project will work on better organizing, curating, editing, and categorizing the collection of project reports to make the overall corpus more accessible and easier to navigate.

We will also curate and arrange the corpus of MPub student work in a learner-centric way by extending the access (and organization) of graduate students' written course work across the years, encouraging not only reading what previous students have written, but ideally creating a discourse that spans years and cohorts. This not only has academic benefits, but also increases student engagement with industry and professional discourse.

The curating will be undertaken by a graduate research assistant drawn from the current MPub cohort and tasked with the following: develop a provisional organization/categorization system, create and meta-describe the new MPub website/content-management system, design and test the user interface of the corpus, and facilitate faculty integration of the new catalogue system within courses.

The project will be evaluated by assessing usage of the corpus: surveying faculty on how integrated into courses the corpus has been, tracking student access of the corpus through web analytics, and tracking items accessed most often as a way to gauge usefulness of the search interface and the accessed works themselves.

Questions addressed:

  • How can this invaluable (and growing) corpus become more accessible to MPub students?
  • How can the corpus become better integrated into the curriculum and culture of the program?

Knowledge sharing: Final project report submitted to ISTLD and the TLC. The SFU Master of Publishing faculty will actively use the corpus in teaching. We will also prepare a short promotional description of the corpus, with URL and invitation to browse the website, and send it by email to our colleagues; i.e., faculty, adjunct faculty, and various other instructors of

  • Undergraduate and graduate publishing courses and other relevant courses (journalism, communications) at SFU
  • Publishing and related courses at other Canadian universities and schools (Capilano, Douglas, Kwantlen, Langara, UBC, Victoria, Vancouver Island University, Carleton, York, Toronto, Ryerson Polytechnic, Centennial, Humber, etc.) and at universities and schools in other countries (CUNY, Yale, Portland State, UCL, Oxford Brookes, etc.)
  • Short courses and professional development workshops at SFU and other universities and organizations

An invitation will also be sent by email to working book and periodical publishers and related professionals such as public policy personnel and staff of national and provincial associations, many of whom already participate in the Master of Publishing Program as industry guests. 

In future projects, we hope to expand the trove of materials, refine the categorization and findability apparatus, and set about gathering evaluative responses from faculty, students, and industry partners.