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Leading the Way in Academic Publishing: Vivian Marr and Oxford University Press

May 8th, 2012 by Katherine_Marshall | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Leading the Way in Academic Publishing: Vivian Marr and Oxford University Press
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Vivian Marr, Head of Language Acquisition at Oxford University Press, joined us for our penultimate visiting speaker session, during which we were treated to a whistle-stop tour of OUP’s rich history and given an in-depth look at Vivian’s own area of expertise:  the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Founded in 1478, OUP began life as a humble printing press and is now the biggest academic publisher in the world.  The Press is a department of Oxford University and is governed by a board of Delegates (academics from the university) who must approve every proposal before it can be commissioned.  Despite OUP’s traditional ethos and governing structure it is, without a doubt, fully engaged in the digital era and this came through in every part of Vivian’s presentation.

As Vivian pointed out, OUP is very active in the digital market and this is best seen in the various ways the OED has been utilised.  In her own words- “…dictionary is content: how can this be exploited?”  The OED has long been established as a print product but in 2000 it was finally digitized and launched online.  Since then OUP has produced more than 11,000 digital products including online reference works and mobile applications.  Being so digitally minded, this strategy has allowed the Press to increase their customer reach and further cement their status as a truly global publisher.

OUP are constantly seeking to add value to their dictionary content and this has led to the creation of the Global Language Solutions (GLS) programme, which Vivian is currently responsible for.  The GLS programme was launched in response to requests from technology companies to provide content other than English.  The programme draws upon OUP’s strong brand identity and works by indentifying and sourcing high quality dictionary content in multiple languages, which is then customised to form a common data structure and licensed to leading brands worldwide.  Vivian’s passion for this innovative programme was very apparent and resonated within the class as she spoke.

Thursday 19th April was certainly a jam-packed presentation but Vivian’s enthusiasm and experience shone through at every point, making for an interesting and inspiring session.  It was encouraging to learn how such a long established publisher is constantly seeking new ways to exploit content, proving that Oxford University Press deserves its title as the world leading academic press.

– Katherine Marshall