¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Welcome to Digital U Lab, a CommentPress site powered by the University of North Carolina Press. From January to September, 2016, I will be writing my book, Digital U: Why Crowdsourcing, Social Media, WordPress, and Google Hangouts Could Save the Historical Profession right here, in public. Many of you knew me from 2006 through May of 2015 as Tenured Radical; this was a period in which I stuck my toe in the water of digital humanities (DH), then the whole foot, then….well, let’s say that I still spend a lot of time in archives and putting together documents like a jigsaw puzzle, writing the histories of twentieth century gender, politics and sexuality. But I also now spend a lot of time brainstorming new digital projects, as well as working daily with students and colleagies at The New School’s Digital Humanities Initiative, where we learn how to teach, learn, think and build better.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Because I have been blogging, giving talks, reading, teaching, and writing about digital humanities for a decade now, I now view my my historical practice as an incubator for developing new digital methodologies and story-telling techniques; and my digital paractices as critical to aspiraions to excellence as a historian, a teacher and a university citizen. This book is a punctuation mark on that journey, a roadmap into what Cathy Davidson and her students have called the “twenty-first century literacies” that are necessary to all of us as we navigate the new Digital University.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Inspired by digital humanities scholars like Davidson, Matthew Gold, Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, UNC Press Editorial Director Mark Simpson-Vos and I decided that writing this book in public was exactly the right thing to do. Why?
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 First, because technology, digital history practices, and the larger field of digital humanities, all move very quickly, books have to be written quickly too. Although this one has, in a sense, been in the planning stages for a few years (some readers will recognize chapters, and chapter titles, from earlier publication and talks I have given), I have had to revise work written as little as two years ago, and expect to continue those revisions until Mark and I decide to put this baby to bed to make our spring 2017 release date.
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Second? Because fun. The lively debates about Open Access, collaboration, the value of refereeing in the age of digital scholarship, the pace and expense of publishing, and crowdsourcing have persuaded me that it might be possible to write a better book if I began a conversation with my readers before the book was published. This doesn’t mean that this book has not been refereed: quite the opposite. We received two anonymous readers’ reports (thank you!), the proposal went through a standard process on its way to a contract, and it will return to the readers and to the board to be authorized for publication. But the meat in the refereeing sandwich is:
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 2 You. It’s hard work writing a book (I am already breaking the DH rules by not having at least one co-author) I expect your comments and criticsms to make me think harder, write more rigorously, and put some money where my mouth was when I suggested that tongue-twisting book title. To make a comment, simply click on the right hand tab that corresponds with the number of the paragraph on which you want to leave a comment and a box will appear. In addition, for those of you who are Tenured Radical fans I will blogging portions of the book that I have not yet written, news items of interest, and thoughts about what I am reading (see the blog tab in the Special Pages menu on the left.) You can keep up with new chapters and blog posts by clicking one of the icons below to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.