Enhancing Scholarly Communication and Communities with the PressForward Plugin

poster / demo / art installation
  1. 1. Joan Fragaszy Troyano

    Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media - George Mason University

  2. 2. Lisa Rhody

    Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media - George Mason University

  3. 3. Zach Coble

    New York University

  4. 4. Roxanne Shirazi

    Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY Graduate Center)

  5. 5. Sarah Potvin

    Texas A&M University

  6. 6. Caro Pinto

    Mount Holyoke

Work text
This plain text was ingested for the purpose of full-text search, not to preserve original formatting or readability. For the most complete copy, refer to the original conference program.

The PressForward Initiative1 at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) has developed a methodology and a technology to expedite scholarly communications and nurture and expand communities of practice on the open web. Over the past two years we have produced our own open source WordPress plugin"2 to facilitate aggregating, curating, and disseminating scholarly content with a process that fosters community and resource-sharing among its users. Simultaneously, we experiment with multiple processes for surfacing, selecting, and circulating digital humanities work and gray literature outside formal traditional publication models.

This poster profiles the workflows and content of two digital humanities publications that have adapted technology developed by PressForward to suit their unique editorial and community needs: Digital Humanities Now3, produced by RRCHNM and dh+lib4, a publication hosted by the Association of College and Research Libraries' Digital Humanities Discussion Group. Visualizing and documenting intellectual and technical schemas for the plugins with diagrams and onsite demonstrations, this presentation exposes the philosophies and methodologies behind aggregating and curating scholarly work and learned expertise made available on the open web. Illustrating multiple workflows, layouts, and interfaces, this poster presents the scalable, replicable, and adaptable potential of the PressForward Plugin for niche scholarly communities eager to tailor their own hubs for communication and collaboration.

As a technology, the PressForward Plugin provides a smoothly integrated editorial process for the aggregation, review, discussion, and republication of external web content within the WordPress dashboard. PressForward aggregates content via RSS feeds, functions as a seamless feed reader, and allows users and groups to mark and discuss individual items before modifying or reproducing them for republication. This poster will document how two publications currently tailor the scope, structure, and flow of the plugin, gesturing toward the potential for replication and modification.

The largest case study, Digital Humanities Now (DHNow), is a principle test case for the plugin and for streamlining workflows that facilitate volunteers' nomination of scholarship on the open web. Drawing from a growing digital humanities community, volunteer editors-at-large sign up to survey over 1,000 potential items each week from more than 650 RSS feeds and nominate material they believe is salient to DHNow's readership. Nominations are considered for republication in DHNow as either Editor's Choice or News items. Next, rotating editors-in-chief -- faculty and graduate assistants at RRCHNM -- select, prepare, and publish links to nominated content, improving its visibility by directing attention back to the original site of publication. DHNow's streamlined processes for managing large numbers of novice and seasoned community volunteers also experiments with automated methods that include computer learning algorithms for filtering through large amounts of content.

dh+lib, published by an existing professional group, aims to give increased presence and voice to librarians interested in, or already knowledgeable about, DH. dh+lib publishes content in two streams. First, original content--posts, essays, and other work--is published directly to the site biweekly or monthly. Second, more regular, content, appears as the dh+lib Review. To produce dh+lib Review, dh+lib relies on the PressForward plugin to facilitate the nomination of content from approximately 167 RSS feeds. Modeled after DHNow, dh+lib's workflow also relies on volunteer editors-at-large, who sign up for weekly shifts to sift through the feeds to select material of interest to the community. dh+lib has also developed an additional layer of editorial intervention, where items selected for publication are written up as short "review" pieces. These pieces contextualize the nominated content, often pulling in other sources, links, and commentary to frame a project, resource, or post.

By volunteering for DHNow or dh+lib, community editors-at-large develop conversance in relevant trends and issues. While DHNow broadcasts a wide scope of work and provides an easy entry point for new practitioners to begin tracking the field, the published dh+lib Review provides librarians with weekly updates of useful and timely content, as selected by their peers. Additional examples will include Global Perspectives on Digital History5, a collaboration between RRCHNM and his.net, that has adapted the PressForward methodology to monitor and distribute material from a smaller, but multilingual source base.

Committed to the ongoing experimentation of DHNow and GPDH, PressForward also encourages adaptation of the tool by others and welcomes collaborations such as with dh+lib. Exposing the production of these digital humanities publications through documentation, workflow diagrams, and guides for getting started, we encourage viewers to consider how the PressForward model might improve the scholarly communication and collaboration of their own communities of interest on the open web.

1. PressForward: Discover, Curate, and Distribute Scholarship the Web Way. PressForward. Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. pressforward.org

2. The PressForward Plugin. PressForward. Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. pressforward.org/the-pressforward-plugin/

3. Digital Humanities Now. Digital Humanities Now. Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. digitalhumanitiesnow.org

4. dh+lib. Association of College and Research Libraries, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. acrl.ala.org/dh/

5. Global Perspectives on Digital History. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. gpdh.org

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Conference Info


ADHO - 2014
"Digital Cultural Empowerment"

Hosted at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Université de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

July 7, 2014 - July 12, 2014

377 works by 898 authors indexed

XML available from https://github.com/elliewix/DHAnalysis (needs to replace plaintext)

Conference website: https://web.archive.org/web/20161227182033/https://dh2014.org/program/

Attendance: 750 delegates according to Nyhan 2016

Series: ADHO (9)

Organizers: ADHO