Posts by Jason Colman

Multi-colored umbrellas on blue sky background
February 20, 2019

Michigan Publishing: Focus on discoverability and accessibility


In February 2019, we are publishing our second series of member profiles. These profiles showcase the wide variety of publishing work happening at member institutions, and celebrate our community’s contributions to the wider publishing landscape. This series will also spotlight resources the profiled institutions have contributed to the Shared Documentation library. Many thanks to the members who volunteered to answer our questions! See all of the published profiles, and look for a new one each week in February. 

To learn more about their program, check out the University of Michigan’s latest Library Publishing Directory entry.

Tell us a bit about your publishing program.

Michigan Publishing brings together the University of Michigan Press, Michigan Publishing Services, and the Deep Blue data and document repository into one big publishing team. Our home is in the Buhr Building, which is an old ball bearing factory that also holds a few million library books and could double as a labyrinth. Every year, we publish about 125 books, 30 journals, and thousands of documents and datasets. We’re also the production and distribution arm of Lever Press, an author-fee-free Open Access publisher of peer-reviewed scholarly works that resonate with the mission of liberal arts colleges, and we’ve spent the last few years building a publishing platform, Fulcrum, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We’re pretty busy these days, but we do still find time for the occasional pun battle.

Tell us something you have accomplished with your program that you’re proud of – big or small.

We recently launched the University of Michigan Press’s eBook collection (more than 1,000 books) on Fulcrum, our digital platform. It was a ton of work for folks across the whole organization and we’re really proud of the finished product.

On a more whimsical note, we just published our first board book, Off He Goes! – it’s for kids who have a medical condition called Brachial Plexus Palsy, and was put together by a neurosurgeon at Michigan Medicine. The project brought us our very first plush toy tie-in, Wimbo the Elephant!

Photo of man in plaid shirt holding stuffed elephant and book titled "Off He Goes!" Text reads: "One thing that really gets our team up out of bed in the morning is our work continuing to push the boundaries on making our books and journals more accessible. Fulcrum aims to meet WCAG 2.1 AA standards, and we’re committed to having all University of Michigan Press books published in Fall 2019 and after having basic textual descriptions of images (alt text). By June 2021, all titles the Press publishes will have complete textual descriptions of images (alt text and, when applicable, long descriptions) supplied by our authors."
Patrick Goussy, Senior Digital Publishing Coordinator, poses with Wimbo the elephant and Michigan Publishing’s first foray into board books.