Content Types: Guest Editing Digital Humanities Now

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 If you’re familiar with a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal, or the myriad other options, then you’re familiar with content types and how they allow you to define and organize information. Or, in Rachel Lovinger’s definition, they describe “the various configurations of content that are distinct enough to be unique types in the system” (Lovinger). For example, WordPress users navigate between “pages” and “posts.” One CMS that I use in my professional life, meanwhile, features FAQs, calendars, and numerous other options in addition to pages and posts. In fact, most CMSs allow developers to customize content types to serve their particular needs. Regardless of specifics, however, content types illustrate not only the nature and scope of their CMS but also the nature and scope of the information contained in that CMS. They provide a taxonomic overview of information itself. Thus, a WordPress site that uses only pages and posts as content types is probably textual and blog-like. A different site with a more expansive list of content types, like the example above, might aim to anticipate and answer questions and coordinate events. Content types, in other words, allow for a glimpse of the content itself.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 How does this relate to Digital Humanities Now, though? This discussion of content types, I think, serves as good point of departure because it illuminates the guest editing experience in two ways.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 First, it articulates the mechanics of guest editing the site. The homepage of Digital Humanities Now features the following blocks: Editors’ Choice, Job Announcements, Announcements, Resources, CFPs & Conferences, Funding & Opportunities, and Reports. These are the site’s de facto content types (not de iure, however, since the site operates with the WordPress pages and posts model). As a guest editor, I spent much of my time scrolling through the automated PressForward feed searching for and reading items of interest, commenting on those items, and recommending select items for publication. As I did this, however, I had to determine which items fit into which blocks. For example, this set of guidelines on preserving electronic theses and dissertations would work in the Resources section while this journal article by Matthew Jockers might be something to consider for the Editors’ Choice section. Searching, sifting, reading, and ultimately categorizing content into types describes much of the guest editing experience.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Second, the idea of content types offers a useful metaphor for a better understanding of the current digital humanities environment—an environment comprised not only of scholarship but also of labor, tools, and conversation. For example, while the Editors’ Choice section of the site gives prominence to published scholarship and new projects, the Job Announcement section demonstrates the variety of labor involved in the digital humanities. Here, we see openings for various librarian, developer, and technology support positions that contribute to the production, maintenance, and archival of scholarship. Recently, it seems that scholars have attempted to illustrate the importance of this labor: see Bethany Nowviskie when she refers to the digital humanities community as one “of scholars and cultural heritage workers” or Melissa Terras and Julianne Nyhan when they ask if we might learn something from the female punch card operators who worked with Father Roberto Busa (Nowviskie, Terras and Nyhan). Similarly, the sections for Announcements (containing news of upcoming workshops) and CFPs and Conferences demonstrate the interpersonal connections of the current digital humanities environment. On a figurative level, then, these sections of Digital Humanities Now become attempts at categorizing the “various configurations” of digital humanities “distinct enough to be unique types in the system” of digital humanities. Guest editing, in this respect, provides an opportunity to attune yourself to the whole by navigating its parts.

Works Cited

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 Lovinger, Rachel. “Content Modelling: A Master Skill.” A List Apart, no. 349, 24 April 2012, http://alistapart.com/article/content-modelling-a-master-skill.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Nowviskie, Bethany. “Resistance in the Materials.” Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren Klein, U of Minnesota P, 2016, http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/66.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Terras, Melissa and Julianne Nyhan. “Father Busa’s Female Punch Card Operatives.” Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren Klein, U of Minnesota P, 2016, http://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/debates/text/57.

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  • Welcome to Digital Praxis 2016-2017

    Encouraging students think about the impact advancements in digital technology have on the future of scholarship from the moment they enter the Graduate Center, the Digital Praxis Seminar is a year-long sequence of two three-credit courses that familiarize students with a variety of digital tools and methods through lectures offered by high-profile scholars and technologists, hands-on workshops, and collaborative projects. Students enrolled in the two-course sequence will complete their first year at the GC having been introduced to a broad range of ways to critically evaluate and incorporate digital technologies in their academic research and teaching. In addition, they will have explored a particular area of digital scholarship and/or pedagogy of interest to them, produced a digital project in collaboration with fellow students, and established a digital portfolio that can be used to display their work. The two connected three-credit courses will be offered during the Fall and Spring semesters as MALS classes for master’s students and Interdisciplinary Studies courses for doctoral students.

    The syllabus for the course can be found at cuny.is/dps17.

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