1970 to 2004
Author: Keith Robbins
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The story of Oxford University Press spans five centuries of printing and publishing. Beginning with the first presses set up in Oxford in the fifteenth century and the later establishment of a university printing house, it leads through the publication of bibles, scholarly works, and the Oxford English Dictionary, to a twentieth-century expansion that created the largest university press in the world, playing a part in research, education, and language learning in more than 50 countries. With access to extensive archives, the four-volume History of OUP traces the impact of long-term changes in printing technology and the business of publishing. It also considers the effects of wider trends in education, reading, and scholarship, in international trade and the spreading influence of the English language, and in cultural and social history - both in Oxford and through its presence around the world. In the decades after 1970 Oxford University Press met new challenges but also a period of unprecedented growth. In this concluding volume, Keith Robbins and 21 expert contributors assess OUP's changing structure, its academic mission, and its business operations through years of economic turbulence and continuous technological change. The Press repositioned itself after 1970: it brought its London Business to Oxford, closed its Printing House, and rapidly developed new publishing for English language teaching in regions far beyond its traditional markets. Yet in an increasingly competitive worldwide industry, OUP remained the department of a major British university, sharing its commitment to excellence in scholarship and education. The resulting opportunities and sometimes tensions are traced here through detailed consideration of OUP's business decisions, the vast range of its publications, and the dynamic role of its overseas offices. Concluding in 2004 with new forms of digital publishing, The History of OUP sheds new light on the cultural, educational, and business life of the English-speaking world in the late twentieth century.