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Synthesis: The Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science

:: Morgan & Claypool Publishers, a new company in the STM publishing world, has launched its new series of "lectures", Synthesis: The Digital Library of Engineering and Computer Science:

The basic component of the library is a 50- to 100-page "Lecture"; a self-contained electronic document that synthesizes an important research or development topic, authored by an expert contributor to the field. We believe that they offer unique value to the reader by providing more synthesis, analysis, and depth than the typical research journal article. They are also more dynamic and convenient than traditional print or digital handbooks, contributed volumes, and monographs.

The library and its lectures are organized in a hierarchical structure of disciplines and series. Each series is managed by a prominent consulting editor. The series editor guides lecture topic and author selection as well as peer review. New series and lectures will be added continuously and existing lectures will be revised as needed. This will make the collection dynamic in a way that has not been achieved with traditional reference or educational products.

The Synthesis platform provides the user with access to content in both PDF and HTML formats, with live links to references and sophisticated search and personalization functions.

I met with company reps Glyn Davies and Mike Jones at the trade show at SLA, who mentioned that the first five lectures are now available: Articulation and Intelligibility, Hf-Based High-k Dielectrics, Understanding Circuits, Spectral Analysis of Signals, and Recognition of Humans and Their Actions Using Video. This is an interesting approach to scholarly publishing, one I haven't seen before. I wonder how researchers will cite these "lectures", especially once an existing lecture is updated. Will the earlier version still be available?

For the moment, the subject emphasis is on electrical and eletronic engineering and computer science topics. I hope the publishers choose to add lectures in the other major engineering fields, including chemical and materials, civil and environmental, mining and petroleum, mechanical, engineering management, and nanotechnology.

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