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OA Week 2021 Project Spotlight 2

The Greater Chaco Landscape#

As part of Open Access Week, Manifold is featuring interviews with the creators of exemplary projects that use Manifold's capabilities to the fullest. Our second installment in this series is The Greater Chaco Landscape. We interviewed Darrin Pratt, director of the University Press of Colorado, about this amazing project.

How did the project come together? Who was involved?#

The Greater Chaco Landscape originated with a seminar held at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in August 2017. This seminar brought together academics and Native scholars from the tribal communities who have a vested interest in Chaco Canyon to address "potential conflicts between energy development and Chacoan archaeology across the San Juan Basin.” Individual seminar presentations, which provided the underpinnings for the volume’s written chapters, were filmed, and after the initial seminar, Durango filmmaker Larry Ruiz recorded additional footage—at Chaco Canyon itself—of Acoma (Haaku), Diné (Navajo), Hopi, and A:shiwi (Zuni) tribal elders and scholars talking about the significance of Chaco to their people. The seminar, filmmaking, and book production were funded by the National Park Service and organized by Steve Lekson (University of Colorado Boulder), Ruth Van Dyke (University of Binghamton) and Carrie Heitman (University of Nebraska). Ruth Van Dyke and Carrie Heitman served as the volume editors for both the online and print editions of the book.

What are your favorite aspects of this project?#

My favorite aspect of the project is the integration of the video and book content, particularly the inclusion of video only chapters that are referenced in the print book but can only be viewed by visiting the Manifold edition. This format made possible the inclusion of the perspectives of the Acoma (Haaku), Diné (Navajo), Hopi, and A:shiwi (Zuni) tribal elders and scholars.

What Manifold features (i.e. reading groups, social media integration, etc.) did you use to achieve your goals for this project?#

Following on my last answer, obviously Manifold’s ability to handle multimedia publications was crucial, but we also made use of the site as an informal preprint server, following the example of some early Manifold projects that were posted as works in process. We made the seminar videos available three years before the book was ready and the later videos about six months before publication, along with the table of contents and a brief synopsis of the forthcoming book, making the material publicly available in a far more timely fashion than is typically the case with our scholarly titles.

What challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?#

In all honesty, the biggest challenges for us involved integrating the videos—which were quite large files—into the EPUB. This was such a challenge that we initially published the book on Manifold with the same print links via DOI out to the Manifold resources while we continued to try to resolve the issues we were having. Ultimately, thanks to the help of Manifold staff, the problem was resolved and the videos are now fully integrated into the book.

What sort of impact have you seen from this project being open access?#

We have seen two impacts thus far. The first is that the book won the 2021 AAA Engaged Anthropology Award, and the fact that the video chapters were available open access almost certainly factored into the book’s winning the award. In addition, the Field Museum in Chicago is designing a new exhibit around Chaco, and they are going to be featuring clips from some of the films in the book. So one public resource is building on another, which is fantastic and exactly what one hopes for with open access publications.

Darrin Pratt is Director of the University Press of Colorado, a position he has held since 2000, and a past President of the Association of University Presses (2016-2017).