Emory Report
November 3, 2008
Volume 61, Number 10



Emory Report homepage  

November 3
, 2008
New textbook first in print and online

By Holly Korschun

A second-edition textbook, co-edited by Emory biochemist Richard Cummings, is the first new textbook edition to be simultaneously released in print and made available free online. “Essentials of Glycobiology”
is the largest, most authoritative volume available on the structure, synthesis and biology of glycans — molecules that coat cell surfaces and proteins and play important roles in many normal and disease processes.

The new edition was published through a collaboration of the Consortium of Glycobiology Editors, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. The online version is available at: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=glyco2.

“This textbook and the online edition will open the world of glycosciences to professionals from many different disciplines and should serve as a model for the open approach to publishing, as well as providing needed illustrations and teaching aids,” Cummings says.

Cummings is the William Patterson Timmie Professor and chair of the Department of Biochemistry in the School of Medicine. He also prepared and drew many of the illustrations in the book.

The release of the book followed the Oct. 14 celebration of International Open Access Day, which highlighted prior successes in providing such open access to research journals.

“This approach ensures that everyone, from the layperson to the high school student to the graduate student in a developing country, has free access to the knowledge the book contains, while increasing awareness of the availability of a printed edition that may be more suitable for some readers’ requirements,” said the book’s senior editor Ajit Varki, a professor at the University of California, San Diego.

The online version will be fully searchable, and there are plans to provide links to not only current, related resources in PubMed/MEDLINE, the most commonly used biomedical literature database, but also to other relevant Internet sites. The online format will also enable the editors to periodically revise and update the text, in collaboration with the Press and the NCBI.

The content of the second edition of “Essentials of Glycobiology” has been completely updated and expanded to reflect the new findings and extensive progress in the field of glycobiology that has occurred since the first edition appeared nearly 10 years ago.

Cummings will be recognized for his contributions as a pioneer of glycobiology with the 2008 Karl Meyer Award, to be presented by the Society for Glycobiology later this month.