Guide to Curating Scholarship from the Open Web: Part 3

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This Guide is part of a series that reflects on three years of research on sourcing and circulating scholarly communication on the open web. In the coming weeks we will share our discoveries, processes, and code developed through rapid prototyping and iterative design: the PressForward plugin for WordPress; the collaboratively-edited weekly publication Digital Humanities Now; and the experimental overlay Journal of Digital Humanities. We hope these resources will encourage and assist others who wish to collect, select, and share content from the web with an engaged community of readers.

Part 3: Workflow and Logistics

Now that you have thought about the intellectual goals of your curated publication, and collected and selected sources within the context of your own publication, it is time to establish the workflow and logistics of running the publication.

Determine Responsibilities and Workflow

As an editorial group you will need to decide the frequency of publication and assign responsibility for the final selections. Must decisions be made as a group, or can individuals make them on a rotating basis? How frequently do you expect participation from editors in the review and nomination process? Will you open any part of the process to volunteers, and on what timeline? Who will oversee the volunteers? What are the expectations and process for editors to communicate? If you plan to publish original content, who will oversee its preparation? Who will handle the public-facing social media accounts and correspondence for the publication?

Establish Community Involvement with Project

You may wish to involve your community in the development of your source base. You can use Google Docs and Forms to provide a list of your current feeds and accept suggestions for new ones (see, for example the “Nominate” page on Digital Humanities Now). The PressForward plugin also will create a new RSS feed of all your incoming content, should readers wish to read all the content you aggregate (for example all the posts aggregated by Digital Humanities Now). You may also consider inviting community participation in the nomination or selection process as volunteer editors. If your goal is to develop a community space for discussion, you may allow comments on your website. You also will want to consider whether your source base and editorial board reflect the intellectual goals of the project: to select the most valuable or provocative work, to show diversity and range, to utilize an existing pool of volunteers, a combination of the above, or something else entirely?

Now is a good time to revisit your publication’s “About Page” and make sure that the text still accurately reflects and articulates your goals.

Before the Launch

Before you launch, you will want to fully review your sources, editorial criteria, responsibilities, and workflows. Make sure that you have defined and agreed-upon roles and responsibilities, timelines for publications, and length of the initial trial period.

You also will want to solicit feedback from trusted colleagues on the source base, the selections, the website, and the editorial workflow.

In addition, your editorial group will need to agree upon the timelines for publication and establish the point at which you will review how the publication is working and discuss long-term strategies.

As you come closer to the public launch, you will want to make sure that you have the site ready, you know the outlets where you want to place the announcement, and have specific people in charge of the site launch, public announcements, and responding to queries. Then you can begin to alert members of your community.

After the Launch

Make sure that you continue to review and refine editorial practices as content and editor availability ebbs and flows. You will need to consider the long-term viability for your existing editorial board and how it might be sustained, as well as sources for technical or financial sustainability.

Now that you have some idea of the steps to plan and structure a curated publication, you may be interested to read how Digital Humanities Now went through this process over the past two years. Look for the next post to provide an overview of our prototype publication!

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