Hi guys! Hope everyone is getting through this stressful time of the academic year…
This week’s readings and practicums are about how digital technology has changed the possibilities for scholarly communication in the history profession. I will be diving into two digital platforms—The Programming Historian and MLA CORE—that offer scholars a way to communicate, share work, and learn from one another outside of the academy and typical methods of sharing work (i.e. scholarly journals, monographs, etc.)
The Programming Historian is a tutorial-based “scholarly journal of methodology” designed to teach digital historians/humanists practical computer programming skills. It is open access, peer reviewed, and impressively, has lessons published in four languages—English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. The tutorials are very digestible, intended for “non-specialist” readers. If you’re a historian or digital humanist looking to learn how to create an Omeka exhibit, or use digital maps, or even preserve your own research and data, The Programming Historian is a great way to get started.
When you choose a language portal (I chose English), there are three ways to engage with the site—Learn, Teach, and Contribute. For the purposes of this practicum, I will focus on the learning aspect. The site organizes its available lessons into topics and subtopics. You can peruse lessons by the five phases of the typical research process—Acquire, Transform, Analyze, Present, and Sustain—or by several general subtopics—including data management, data manipulation, mapping, distant reading, and web publishing—to make navigating through the content easy. The site also lists how many lessons are in each section and subsection. For example, there are 84 total English lessons and 32 in the “Transform” section. You can also sort the lessons by publication date or by difficulty/skill-level—low, medium, and high.
To practice, I went to “Digital Publishing” and found a lesson called “Creating an Omeka Exhibit.” The tutorial lists the contributors, the editor, the peer reviewer, the publish date, and the difficulty level and gives a helpful description of how to create a guided tour with your collected items on Omeka.
Overall, The Programming Historian is a really great example of “a collaborative, productive, and sustainable effort for scholars to learn from one another.” I honestly wish I knew about it sooner!
The last practicum of this week (and this semester!) is MLA CORE (Common Open Repository Exchange). MLA CORE is MLA Common’s—the network for MLA members—digital scholarly repository funded by the National Endowment for Humanities. MLA CORE “is a full-text, interdisciplinary, non-profit social repository designed to increase the impact of work in the humanities.” It offers a space to share work, communicate with scholars, participate in groups, and ensure that your work is preserved and accessible. To access CORE, you do have to be a member of MLA Commons. You can either join the MLA—which costs $28 per year for graduate students—or create a free account through the Humanities Commons open network. I made a free account through Humanities Commons which gives me partial access to CORE.
After creating an account, you can upload published journal articles, dissertations and theses, syllabi, in-progress papers, abstracts, data sets, etc. To upload/deposit scholarship, you click “Upload Your Work” on the CORE home page. The process seems fairly easy. After attaching a file and inserting some information about the upload, it is up!
To search for scholarship on MLA CORE, you click “Find Open Access Materials” on the home page. Deposits are automatically sorted by date, starting with the most recent. There are some premeditated deposit collections—The Library and Information Science Collection, The Syllabus Collection, and the American Literature Collection, to name a few. You can also browse by subject, item type, date, or by search. I typed “cold war” into the search bar. Only the first few results seemed related to my search, so it is important to note that the search function may not be optimal.
CORE has some other community-building features as well. You can build up your own profile, browse members’ personal websites, join groups, create groups, and facilitate discussions through the platform. MLA CORE is an interesting way to share, browse, and preserve work and make connections with other scholars. It’s almost like a scholarly Facebook!
Have you ever used The Programming Historian or MLA CORE? What do these sites say about the possibilities for scholarly communications?