Conference Explores ‘Why Books Still Matter’

The important role that books continue to play in an age in which information is so easily accessed and disseminated will be examined in an academic conference on ­Friday, Nov. 14, marking the 100th anniversary of the Yale University Press.

“Why Books Still Matter” is jointly sponsored by the Yale University Press, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and the Whitney Humanities Center.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m. in the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St.

The conference will bring together university press publishers and scholars — including Yale President Richard C. Levin — in three panel discussions that address the digital future of scholarly publishing, the idea of the press in the modern university and the broader question “Whither the University Press?”

“We believe that this cultural moment provides a tremendous opportunity for the community of university presses to refine and expand its mission — a mission that has always had enormous significance far beyond academia,” says John Donatich, director of Yale University Press. “This conference promises to be an intellectually exciting and meaningful day: an apt way for Yale University Press to celebrate its 100th anniversary.”

Donatich will present the conference’s keynote address at 10 a.m. This will be followed by three panel discussions:

• ”The Digital Future of Scholarly Publishing,” 10:30-noon. Robert Darnton, director of the Harvard University Library, will moderate a panel of academics, including: Yochai Benkler of Harvard; David Gelernter of Yale; Michael Heller of Columbia; and Susan Scafidi of Fordham University.

• ”The Idea of the Press in the Modern University,” 1:30-3 p.m. Levin will moderate a panel of Yale professors, including: Akhil Amar, David Bromwich, John Demos, Douglas Rae and Anthony Kronman.

• ”Whither the University Press,” 3:15-4:45 p.m. Laura Brown, former director of Oxford University Press, will moderate a panel of university press directors, including: Peter Dougherty of Princeton University Press, Ellen Faran of MIT Press, William Sisler of Harvard Press and Donatich.

The day’s program will conclude with a reception at 5 p.m.

Founded in 1908, Yale University Press is one of the largest and most distinguished American university presses. It publishes over 320 books a year in a wide range of disciplines, including history, literature, drama, art and architecture, American studies, philosophy, politics, religion

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