Ant, Spider, Bee Flies with PressForward

Today, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany, relaunches its affiliated blog, Ant Spider Bee: Exploring Digital Environmental Humanities, as a PressForward publication. The Rachel Carson Center and Ant, Spider, Bee’s editors are delighted to be PressForward pilot partners. The mission of our blog is to engage academics and practitioners in the exploration, discussion and reflection on digital practices, methodologies, and applications in environmental humanities work. The name Ant Spider Bee refers to Francis Bacon’s metaphor about ways of “handling” science:

The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes a middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own. –Francis Bacon, The New Organon [Book One], 1620.

Through its antlike function, PressForward helps us be the bee. By more efficiently collecting diverse material–environmental, technological, and academic–we can put more resources into its digestion. More importantly, we hope PF will help us cross-pollinate; we look forward to engaging alumni and current RCC fellows and students in nominating and contextualizing posts.

In addition to making curation more collaborative, we see PF as a great way to help users discover related environmental content. To this end, as we pilot PF with Ant Spider Bee we will explore ways to integrate it into the Drupal environment of the Environment & Society Portal, the Rachel Carson Center’s open access digital archive and publication platform. The Portal publishes peer-reviewed born-digital articles and exhibitions and curates a variety of scholarly and popular materials on the relationship between nature and society. Alongside the usual navigation tools, the Portal lets users find spatially, temporally, and thematically related results via map, timeline, and keyword explorer. By extending our reach, PressForward could contribute a new dimension to this discovery process.

Ant Spider Bee is collaboratively edited by the RCC’s director of the Environment & Society Portal, Kimberly Coulter; Wilko Graf von Hardenberg of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Finn Arne Jørgensen of Umeå University, Sweden. At the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, the PressForward project is advised and supported by Robert Emmett, Martin Spenger, and Iris Trautmann. Our thanks to Sean Takats, Stephanie Westcott, and Lisa Rhody of RRCHNM for including us in the PressForward pilot project and assisting us with the plugin’s implementation.

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