From Cornell Chronicle:
Buried somewhere in storage in the Physical Sciences Building was a 2003 interview between Nobel Prize-winner Hans Bethe, then 96 years old, and N. David Mermin, now the Horace White Professor of Physics Emeritus, as they discussed the early history of solid-state physics.
That conversation contained valuable historical insights into two leading physicists of the 20th century, yet no one could access it – that is, until a collaborative effort brought that interview and voluminous other Cornell material into the open.
Now the Internet-First University Press (IFUP) has released a complete directory of all available material – including the Bethe-Mermin interview. It’s the continuation of efforts to make the project’s content more easily accessible.
IFUP was an early effort to explore innovative ways to publish scholarly work in the digital age. Conceived by the Office of the University Faculty in 2002 as a way to slow the rising costs of scholarly publishing – costs often shouldered by students in the form of tuition – the project has helped make historically valuable archival material free online.
The press has also produced and released new content, including 28 books, video recordings of memorial events and symposia, more than a dozen public lectures from Cornell Academics and Professor’s Emeriti (CAPE), 29 oral history interviews about the Arecibo Observatory, and nearly 100 oral history interviews with senior members of the faculty.
Launched in the infancy of online publishing, the faculty-led project set out to eliminate costs related to printing and inventory and reducing the physical space dedicated to archiving in favor of on-demand material available anywhere in the world via the internet.