MLA CORE: Practicum

Hi everybody! I hope you and yours are well! 

The MLA CORE is part of the MLA’s Digital Commons (“the scholarly network for MLA members”) and serves as a central repository for digital projects, code, articles, manuscripts, syllabi and more. MLA CORE serves as a tool for increasing the impact of research that might not “count” otherwise in academia.

First, MLA CORE sends out “community notifications” to members of digital groups the author is a part of. The site also addresses a more logistical challenge of trying to grow the audience for one’s work by creating unique identifiers (DOIs, or Digital Object Identifiers) that facilitate citation of them in scholarly works. The ability to select the appropriate licensure is embedded in the MLA CORE, which also serves as an archive of the objects submitted. Overall, it’s encouraging to see an academic association providing tools that help address the problem of only a few types of projects and work counting toward scholarly success.

A pretty wide range of collections…

There are a few ways to explore the items that are part of this collection. You can choose browse or search within one of their collections or you can search the whole repository. Within both the collection and whole database search, you can search by author, subject, tag, or title. I found it interesting that the most commonly uploaded items are articles and book chapters, which might highlight that these are still the most (I believe) valued forms of scholarly by many. I did notice that there were 33 datasets in the repository. Some of these looked very interesting (titles ranged from “Tweets Database-US President Power” to “Foucault’s Toolbox Master Spreadsheet 2019-4”)!

Different browsing options.

To start off, I started to explore The Comics Collection because that sounded fun. It was! This also contained a pretty wide range of materials. Some submissions were conference posters while others were comics themselves. I perused a course syllabus that was included in the comics collection because students of the course were assigned a comic analysis and visual language analysis. It was a fascinating way to organize materials that otherwise not seem very related at all.

I thought it was notable that the website made sharing on social media pretty simple.

Overall, I think this looks like a great to for growing the audience of perhaps less traditional academic work. I noticed that people shared work from a wide range of disciplines. I wonder if this predominates with scholars of English because of the association with the MLA. I noticed that in the AHA Guidelines for the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians ( the authors recommended that the AHA create a “curated gallery of ongoing digital scholarship so that historians can learn directly from one another as they conceive, build, and interpret new forms of scholarship.” I found some interesting resources for doing Digital History on their site, but didn’t find a curated gallery of dighist projects.

4 Replies to “MLA CORE: Practicum”

  1. Great breakdown of the practicum! This seems like a really interesting and useful tool for both sharing and finding research and different projects. As well as making it easier to get your own research out, I like that its filled with so many different kinds of work on so many topics. It’s a great way to see how you’re research could be adapted differently and how others working on a topic are engaging with their findings, as well as maybe getting you in touch with others working on similar research. It looks like a great way to connect researchers together

  2. Thanks for sharing this! It’s been really interesting to watch the development of MLA CORE as a platform and see how it has grown and expanded. It’s worth underscoring that Kathleen Fitzpatrick the author of the Planned Obsolescence book was a primary driver of implementing this platform. In that vein, I think it is illustrative of the way that many of her ideas about the role that scholars can play in helping to reinvent and reshape the knowledge infrastructure fo scholarship.

    Given that scholarly societies have played such a central role in communication between scholars through he development of journals it makes a lot of sense that those same societies could play a central role in being the scholar led non-profit focused institutions to develop the future of scholarly communication.

  3. Hey, Elisabeth,s this was a really great practicum post! As you said this is a really cool way to access unique scholarship, its interesting the variety of items that were on the site and even though there is a clear bias towards books and articles the fact that there are other types of items such as comics, and data sets. It looks like a good resource to use if you are writing about digital history work because of this variety, with data sets and blogs accessible on the same site. These kinds of items being on the website help validate them as sources, along with increasing accessibility. Once again great post! Have a great week!

  4. Thanks, Jamie for your comment! I hadn’t thought of using this as a source for writing about digital history work, and agree it’s a great idea. Also, I think it’s a good point that providing this platform for data sets, blogs and other types of undervalued work can help validate them. Thanks again and hope you are doing well!

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