Session 10 - Formatting and Release Preparation

@may20-cohort, we’re talking about the final stages of production at tomorrow’s session, 3:30pm ET on Zoom (at our usual Zoom link). We’ll talk about formatting, setting release dates, final checks, and preparing for release.

Take a look at the handout and slides we’ll be referring to:

  1. Handout: Formatting and Release Preparation
  2. Slides: Formatting and Release Preparation

See you all soon. :slight_smile:

Thanks for attending yesterday’s session, everyone! As I said, there may be more topics related to formatting or release that you’d like me to dig into — if so, please let me know. We can spend some time at our Special Topics session in 2 weeks, or during our monthly check-ins.

As usual, keep reading for a recap, discussion conversations, and resources shared.

Questions and Discussion

  1. @geripalmer asked about different resources for designing covers. @mbranson recommended Canva.
  2. @poritzj asked about metadata standards: is there a minimum set of information to provide in the book metadata like keywords to ensure it is easily discoverable and compatible with library catalogues? What about MARC records?
  3. @wernerwestermannj ideated about a standard OER repository, a single registry of sorts that would make OER easily shareable and discoverable. Mark posed a follow-up question about hosting of the OER.
  4. @poritzj wondered whether there is a submission process for repositories, and what popular OER repositories might be! Take a look at our list in the session handout.

Chat Transcript and Resources

Some exciting things like book covers shared in our chat transcript this week!

Other resources shared included:

Lesson Recap

This phase is one where your project really begins to take shape as a whole, usable resource. Start by setting a target release date, if you haven’t already, taking into account when and how you want the resource to be used. Try to announce the resource a few weeks prior to this date, so potential adopters have time to evaluate and review the resource before assigning it for their own courses. Spend some time to plot out remaining tasks before you are ready to release. This way, you get a picture of what’s left to do, how long it might take, and what areas are more flexible. The date you select is not set in stone; so keep revisiting and reconfirming the target release date at each major milestone, rejigging your schedule and timeline as needed.

Once your content has been reviewed and revised, you can get going on formatting and laying out the book. Since an OER is not just a resource with an open or Creative Commons license, it should be available in a wide variety of formats. At minimum, we suggest your OER be available in a web, editable, and offline format (this is easy to do using Pressbooks or other publishing platforms). For consistency’s sake, you can prepare an inventory of the different elements you want to include and a corresponding “style guide” for each — perhaps as a sample chapter in your book. If challenges do crop up as you are formatting the body content, reach out to the rest of your team and community for help.

Once you’re through formatting the main body content, you’ll want to consider preparing or adding a few additional items, or as we like to call them, final touches to help the book feel like a well-curated and professionally created resource. Adding information like a review statement, accessibility statement, book metadata, and adoption form can provide readers with more information about the quality and efficacy of your resource, and also provide pathways for others to find the book and report their use. Frontmatter and backmatter can help your resource feel more rounded and professionally created, as can a well-designed cover (look to the slides for what to include in a book cover). Don’t forget to conduct a final set of checks on the different formats of your book.

It can sometimes be difficult to draw the line with final tweaks and touches on the book, so work with your team to reach a point where you are all happy. But when you hit this point, you can prepare the promotional assets to communicate the Big Release! The goal with your announcements should be to let others know what the resource is, where it can be accessed, what sets it apart, and what others think of it so far. You can build off of this initial buzz and momentum around the book as you continue to promote it. But, most importantly savour the moment — this is the milestone you’ve been working towards, and it’s finally here! Pause and celebrate with your team.

Hi Apurva - I definitely thought about listing us as lead authors, but I’m not sure that I want to - with it being a collaborative project, I don’t know if I want to emphasize that hierarchy. I suppose it will need an author eventually (for cataloging & print), but I want to think some more about how we do it.

My main goal was really just to get the basic cover artwork done, so that we can use it in marketing & for the CFP. We can worry about what else needs to go on it later…that’s a long way down the road. I am interested to hear how people have emphasized a non-hierarchical authorial structure, though.


No worries Mark, those details can be finalized once you have a better sense of your team and roles. This is an excellent start on the basics of the cover.

Some ways that I’ve seen the non-hierarchical authorial structure have been:

  • Listing all the authors on the front or back cover: see A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students. Some have gone the other way and listed nothing besides the license and title on the front cover.
  • Showcasing all the contributors involved in a frontmatter or back matter section: Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Open Pedagogy Approaches
  • Highlighting the collaborative effort in the introduction: “Contributors to this series have been crowdsourced through email lists, social media, and other means. Each of the books has its own editor, and multiple authors from different parts of the world who have expertise in the topic of the book. This also means that there will inevitably be shifts in voice and tone between chapters, as well as in perspectives. This itself exemplifies the practice of philosophy, insofar as the philosophical questions worth discussing are those that do not yet have settled answers, and towards which there are multiple approaches worthy of consideration (which must, of course, provide arguments to support their claim to such worth).” from Philosophy of Mind

There’s more we can ideate on with respect to covers specifically. I’ll keep it in mind for future conversations, and would love to hear any suggestions from the cohort and community.