¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 3 Don’t worry: I’m not going to blog the whole book. If I did I would never finish it. Or at least, I wouldn’t be able to finish it and also finish season 6 of Game of Thrones.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 On the other hand, as academic bloggers know, the discipline of blogging is good for keeping our minds limber on a day-to-day basis. When Mark Simpson-Vos, my editor at the University of North Carolina Press, agreed with me that writing this book in public would be fun, I was thrilled. For a collection of essays on practicing history in the digital age, Digital U: Why Crowdsourcing, Social Media, Word Press and Google Hangouts Could Save the Historical Profession it seemed like exactly the right approach, We both realized that working out ideas in this space would naturally flow back into the process of revising the chapters that I had already drafted; and writing the chapters that I had only sketched out when we agreed to do the book together would be a more dynamic process if I started testing out ideas in a blog format. Some of those ideas may fail; some may succeed and never make it into the book. Others, improved by your questions and comment, will migrate into chapters. I hope my writing process over the next six months process will demonstrate how the academic commons that takes place on social media can be the next frontier of our intellectual history.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The best part is that you, the readers, have the opportunity to jump in and argue with me before the book is even published. Comment on these blog posts, make suggestions and — as I post them, you can use this platform, powered by The CommentPress Core plugin, to comment on the chapters themselves. (You can also correct my spelling, punctuation and syntax: longtime readers and all my student fellows at the New School Digital Humanities Initiative know that I am the Worst. Proofreader. Ever.)
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 If you have never participated in what is sometimes called open review, or peer-to-peer review, before, go to “Open Review: A Study of Contexts and Practices” (last updated January 29 2013), a documented generated by a team of scholars led out by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Modern Language Association; and Avi Santo, Associate Professor of Communications and Theater Arts, Old Dominion University. You will see two things. One is an excellent description of open review, as digital humanists understand it at this point in time — and that no one commented!
¶ 5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 We want comments. Lots of them. A major goal of this experiment is to create a refereeing process that is transparent and participatory, and offer a counterweight to the distrust that exists about the process of scholarly refereeing in general. I believe in refereeing: it makes us smarter, and all kinds of ugly errors that slip in when we are not looking can be seen with fresh eyes. I am in receipt of two insightful reports from referees that were commissioned when I first submitted the book proposal to UNC, and my first set of revisions will be based on those. You, the crowd, are the next stage, and I am hoping that those of you who are younger than I am, and many people who are techno-skeptics will want to jump in. It’s rare that younger scholars are invited — or even asked — to review senior scholars, but it seems like a particularly appropriate move for a book that is about the current state of digital scholarship. The rule of thumb is: be honest, be real, ask questions, and try not to write a comment in a tone that would make it hard for you to hear, or respond constructively to, a criticism of your own work.
¶ 6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 2 So: welcome! Practice commenting in the sidebar on the right: the template for the chapters will look and act exactly the same. If you go to the bottom of any page, including this one, you will see little icons that allow you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so that you will know when new posts and chapters go up. Thanks in advance for your help, your ideas and your curiosity.