In 2020, Notre Dame Press received an NEH CARES grant, allowing us to expand our channels to communicate with and connect scholars. We’re thrilled to highlight the new projects we explored to #KeepUP and adapt to a new era with an increased need for virtual interaction.
Thanks to the support of the NEH CARES grant, the University of Notre Dame Press was able to significantly expand our many ways of communicating with scholars, introducing a number of new initiatives, including virtual exhibits, a video series, and increased email marketing. We also increased access to our books despite loss of access to physical libraries and stores. The project’s activities centered around a wide range of our academic strengths, including philosophy, political science, literature, theology and religious studies, Latin American studies, medieval studies, Russian and eastern European studies, Irish studies, military history, and midwestern archeology.
Throughout the project, we constructed eleven virtual exhibits to highlight new and recent books, connect acquisitions staff with potential authors, and host virtual events. Virtual exhibits featured new and forthcoming books and included a letter from the acquiring editor, excerpts from relevant titles, a subject area catalog, and a conference discount for attendees. In addition, conferences for six key subject areas advertised opportunities for scholars to virtually pitch their book projects to our editorial team and receive feedback on their manuscripts. Emails and social media posts promoting the conferences and speed pitches were also sent.
We also launched a Notre Dame Press Blog, featuring eleven excerpts, twelve interviews, and one feature article. Social media content was created and posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to advertise each blog post.
Following the success of the blog launch, we researched, planned, and launched a new video series, Books for Better Understanding, including four videos that were funded by the grant. “Making It in Publishing” brought together four publishing employees, including two from Notre Dame Press, to discuss entering a career in academic publishing. The remaining three videos featured discussions between recently published authors and leading experts in their field. The videos were promoted in related virtual exhibits, subject area newsletters, and on social media.
As part of our increased email marketing program, we crafted a subject area email newsletter template, ultimately sending fifteen subject area email newsletters. Subjects included: ethics, international relations and foreign policy, history, Irish studies, Jewish studies, Latin American studies, literature, medieval studies, military history, philosophy, political science and theory, religion, and Russian and East European studies. The newsletters highlighted new books, blog posts, and virtual events or interviews.
Finally, sixty-one new ebooks were created based on reader demand (determined by sales of physical editions) or on the potential for a physical title to go out of print. These materials were added to Press collections on our website, on Project MUSE, and on JSTOR to ensure easy access by individuals and through institutions. In addition, the materials will be available via open access to the Notre Dame community as part of the Hesburgh Libraries’ CurateND platform.
We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for helping us to provide this new content for our readers and to increase our reach!