The University of New Mexico Press announced that it will participate in a groundbreaking initiative that will allow its books to be distributed electronically to libraries, researchers and students worldwide. UNM Press has signed on as a member of the newly created University Press Content Consortium (UPCC), a merger of two major university press e-book initiatives, Project MUSE Editions (PME) and the University Press e-book Consortium (UPeC). UPCC eBook Collections on Project MUSE will launch Jan. 1, 2012.

UPCC allows e-books from over 65 university presses and non-profit scholarly presses—representing as many as 15,000 frontlist and backlist titles—to be discovered and searched in an integrated environment with content from journals currently on MUSE.

"Our user community will benefit greatly from the integrated research opportunities presented by putting university press book content alongside journal collections," said Dean Smith, Director of Project MUSE. "Publishers and authors will see their books exposed to MUSE's installed base of several million scholars, researchers, and students across the globe."

"We are excited about the opportunities presented by the University Press Content Consortium initiative and anticipate that the digital collections being compiled will appeal to a wide range of libraries and institutions," said John W. Byram, director, UNM Press. "This collaboration brings together important university-press produced e-book content and makes it even more accessible to scholars and educators."

Representatives of UPeC and PME worked closely with librarians over the past two years to develop a scholarly e-book model that benefits both libraries and presses. Incorporating extensive research and feasibility analysis from both groups, the UPCC Collections will be sold by MUSE in comprehensive and subject-based collections, with minimal digital rights management.

Research on the feasibility of a university press–based scholarly e-book initiative was commissioned by the UPeC directors in 2009 with grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

"The creation of UPCC signals a new era of inter-university press collaboration," said Alex Holzman, director of Temple University Press and one of the founding directors of UPeC. "In these challenging times, presses need to acknowledge one of their key strengths—excellent scholarship—and work together to be able to disseminate this scholarship as widely as possible."