16 Month Review of Digital Humanities Now

Sixteen months after the relaunch of Digital Humanities Now, it is time again to offer a glimpse behind the scenes. While many of the trends we identified in our six month report remain stable, there have been two significant changes in our editorial process.

First, we have reduced our publication cycle from daily to twice weekly.

Second, we have expanded our editorial team to include 121 Editors-at-Large from the digital humanities community.

These changes have been productive and positive. Our readership has grown over the last six months and we have been more selective in the pieces we highlight. We have also had a very enthusiastic response to our calls for Editors-at-Large. These volunteers have expanded the range of items reviewed for Digital Humanities Now and are bringing Digital Humanities Now one step closer to being a community edited journal.

The Current State of Digital Humanities Now

  • From June to December 2012, we published 90 Editors’ Choice pieces and 358 News items, the majority of which were job announcements, calls for papers, and resources. These pieces were chosen from the approximately 4000 items received each month from the blogs of the Compendium, the aggregated tweets of those we follow on Twitter, and an automated Google search. At this rate, we are publishing 0.5% of the content we see as Editors’ Choice and 2% as News.
  • Our readership is growing steadily. Our twitter account, which functions as the primary distribution source for many readers, now has over 7000 followers. The links we publish, currently about 70 per month, are generating roughly 2500 clicks. In addition, there are now nearly 500 people who use RSS readers to follow our Editors’ Choice selections.
  • Our calls for Editors-at-Large have been very successful. We received 43 volunteers in the Summer, 39 in the Fall, and 44 in the Spring, many of whom signed up for multiple weeks. From the large stream of 4000 items per month, the Editors-at-Large recommend roughly 650 items per month, 16% of the items they review. This initial filtering by the Editors-at-Large has reduced the editorial time from 15-20 hours across four editors to approximately 10 hours by a single editor each week.
  • While the majority of the blogs in our Compendium are produced by male authors (53% to 27%), the inclusion of Editors-at-Large has introduced a new gender variable. Of our 121 volunteers to date, the split between men and women is 45% to 55%. Although women represent less than 1/3 of those who are publishing their work on the web and directing our attention to that work, they represent the majority of those volunteering their time to evaluate digital humanities scholarship. At the same time, the percentage of pieces highlighted in Digital Humanities Now by female authors has remained stable at 30%.

The Future of Digital Humanities Now

Looking forward, we are beginning to use an alpha version of our PressForward plugin for WordPress. This plugin will enable a more streamlined aggregation and nomination process, and will make it possible to open the role of weekly editor to members of the digital humanities community.

We are very pleased with the ways Digital Humanities Now is continuing to develop in this second year of publication and are very grateful for the community support we have received.

If you have not already done so, please add your blog to our Compendium and continue to publish your research on the web. In addition, please join our team of Editors-at-Large and help us continue to find and highlight the best of digital humanities scholarship on the web.

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