Blog Post

New model for digital publications?

A new model for digital scholarly publishing jumped online tonight, Digital Humanities Now, created by Dan Cohen, Director of the Center for History and New Media, GMU. 

According to Dan:

Digital Humanities Now is a new web publication that is the experimental result of this thought. It aggregates thousands of tweets and the hundreds of articles and projects those tweets point to, and boils everything down to the most-discussed items, with commentary from Twitter. Read the rest of Dan's introductory post on DH Now.

What's amazing is that Dan created this new publication in a few days. I like his approach: he had an idea and implemented it immediately. I think this is one trait that is shared by many digital humanists/scholars--the willingness to experiment and just do. He is assuming there will be adjustments, but wasn't afraid to go forward with an idea. I'm proud to be one of the 274 founding editors, together with some other HASTAC scholars.

Will this replace the traditional print scholarly journal? At first glance, I would say no; however, I like this type of dynamically-generated news and content source.  This offers an end-of-the-day check in with what has happened in the DH world. Nothing like that is comparable for any disciplinary or interdiscliplanary journal or blog.  There may be some days when I'm less intereted in the content, but I certainly don't read everything in a print journal either.

Check it out and subscribe to the feed. The best part about a crowdsourced publications is that the crowd will influence its development.



1 comment

Thanks for posting this here, Sheila. What a great idea and so nicely explained by both you and Dan Cohen. I've really found myself gravitating to sites like this - sites that make visible larger connections, and let me follow conversations easily. It feels somewhat more connected than just following a rabbit trail of links - which, don't get me wrong, is half the fun of finding new things - but this gives context in ways that individual nodes don't.

Your comment about this going from idea to implementation in a few days, and a willingness to tinker as it goes along, seems particularly important too. It seems like that's what blogging is often about too - trying out new thoughts, putting ideas out there for conversation, and not just being "willing to be open" to critique/conversation but hoping and needing that kind of interactive response.

The question of how to promote more of this collaborative tinkering, even in non-technological spaces, has been one of my side hobbies too. In one of my other lives, I organize a monthly Colloquium for Women's Studies graduate students. For years, the format has been to present somewhat-finished work for further comment and refinement. But I found that it always reified the 'finished' version of a piece - you don't see any of the hard work, the tinkering, the lulls, or the frustrations in getting to the final version. To open it up at that point just seems a little beside the point, and sometimes contributes to a sense of defensiveness, as though to say: I've already figured this out, don't poke more holes into it! In recent years I've encouraged members - even faculty, wow! - to present true works-in-progress, or even pre-drafts. Complete with questions and problems that they can identify, and with no clear resolution or direction in sight. I think it's totally changed the dynamic and the sense of community - there's a willingness to look to others for suggestions and much more interesting conversations. I think that's why I've always loved blogs, but particularly community blogs and sites like HASTAC - a sense of conversation, a bit of accountability (or at least not just fly-by-heckles) and developing a sense of openness to conversation.I loved your formulation of it, that this interest approach to put something out there, and be willing to learn and refine, is at the heart of DH. Maybe it's what's 'digital' afterall - a sense of experimentation and refining as we go, as opposed to always presuming we know the answers ahead of time.

Thanks again for posting this! And of course, I was excited to see Grading 2.0 on the front page!