Sylvia is co-founder of the Publishing Makerspace working group, which won the honor of participating in the Scholarly Communications Institute in November 2014. The group seeks to redefine scholarly publishing to respond to digital innovations and encompass multi-modal scholarship.
In July 2017 she began work in the new role of Senior Program Manager, Publishing Innovations, at Duke University's John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. She is publications manager of Humanities Futures, an online collection of cutting-edge scholarly essays on the future of humanities disciplines and interdisciplines, funded by the Mellon Foundation, and she is spearheading events and workshops on publishing literacy and scholarly publishing.
Sylvia is the former Director of the Mellon-funded Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement project at UNC Chapel Hill, a collaboration of the University of North Carolina Press, the UNC Special Collections Library, and the Southern Oral History Program. Over 5 years the project digitized an important archive of 4,000 oral histories and published (1) a multi-genre online collection with a commenting feature; (2) new editions of historic slave narratives in print-on-demand and ebook form; (3) multimedia e-books on history and music; and (4) a collaborative blog on archiving and e-publishing.
During her 25-year career in scholarly publishing (as Publishing Director of Reference at Routledge and Executive Editor at Scribner Reference) she commissioned and published scholarly content for a wide audience, including many encyclopedias in the humanities and social sciences that won Library Journal Best Reference honors and the distinguished Dartmouth Medal. She received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and her M.A. from Columbia University, both in Comparative Literature.
A leader in the transition to online publishing, she began to develop her skills in information architecture and online usability in the mid-1990s. She advocates for a redefined approach to publishing that would cross the print-digital divide in its response to the multimodal nature of much scholarly work today, and she is interested in developing tools and workshops that encourage collaborative expertise-sharing and role-bending among scholars, editors, publishers, digital librarians, archivists, designers, technologists, digital geographers, museum curators, documentary-film makers, and others, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, to achieve the full potential of hybrid and multi-modal work.
In her role as Senior Program Manager, Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI), headquartered in Duke University’s Franklin Humanities Institute, she coordinated several international scholarly collaborations funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and managed the grantee organization, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI). Responsibilities included Board elections, Board meetings, the annual meeting of the membership, fellowship partnerships, summer institutes, grant writing, financial management, and communications.