Brad Tober /
Experimental Interface Lab

«Women in Print

Women have long been a part of the history of books and printing as authors, scribes, illustrators, binders, and even printers. Some of this work went on as a matter of course, but frequently, at least until recently, books authored by women appeared with more fanfare, were marketed with conscious reference to gender, and often attracted more attention—both laudatory and critical—than books by male authors. Even when a woman hid behind a pseudonym or had difficulty getting her work published, this, too, reflected a distinction accorded to books written by women. Whether praised as “the eleventh muse” (Hrotsvit of Gandersheim) or criticized as a “hyena in petticoats” (Mary Wollstonecraft), women authors get noticed.

Women in Print explores the impact of the imprint in its original form and offers fresh insights into the reception history of books written by women. By focusing on texts used in cultural history, women’s studies, and literature courses, the platform allows students to experience women's writing in its original form and offers helpful commentary and tools to put the women and their books in context.

Features of Women in Print include:

  • Digital facsimiles of rare books, allowing readers to experience the book as it first appeared
  • New and accessible introductions and commentary by distinguished teachers of the text
  • Searchable transcriptions and translations
  • eBook downloads (for a wide variety of platforms) and an online reader (with high resolution images)
  • Links to further reading and bibliographies designed for students
  • Embedded media that takes readers on virtual visits to the vault with rare book specialists

The creation of Women in Print was a collaborative effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rare Book & Manuscript Library and the University of Illinois Press, with contributions from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Art + Design, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and the editors of each text, who are dynamic teachers and leading scholars in their fields.

In the early phases of the project (when the working title of the endeavor was SheBooks), I was the lead UI / UX designer on the team and was responsible for the design of wireframes and prototypes (both low- and high-fidelity) of a tablet-oriented mobile experience. In later phases, I transitioned to a role in which I consulted on broader issues related to design strategy.



  • [with Valerie Hotchkiss et al.] Honorable Mention (Category: Access), 2016 Center for Research Libraries Primary Source Awards, Chicago, Illinois.


  • [with Valerie Hotchkiss and Kenton McHenry] Panel: "Colleagues or Rivals? Academic e-Publishing vs. Commercial e-Publishing in the Humanities." Digitize This: Exploring / Exploiting the Rise of Digital Arts and Digital Humanities, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts (November 3, 2012).
  • [with Valerie Hotchkiss and Liana Diesendruck] Panel: "Virtual Vault: The Technology, Design, and Scholarship behind a New Model for Value-Added E-Books from Special Collections Libraries." Digital Frontiers 2013, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas (September 20, 2013).


  • [with Valerie Hotchkiss, Kenton McHenry, and Bill Regier] Innovation and Seed Funding, $10,000, University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois (2013)