The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the team that brought you Zotero and Omeka, announces the release of its newest digital tool, the PressFoward Plugin. A tool for aggregating, curating and publishing content from the web, PressForward will change the way that websites find and publish the news and stories they share. PressForward enables individuals and communities to develop their own aggregated publications and will change the way that journalists, bloggers, and institutions find audiences for their work.
Available for download from the WordPress.org Directory or from the Administrative Dashboard within a WordPress website, PressForward allows users to collect content published elsewhere on the web, discuss it with potential collaborators, and format and publish that content without ever leaving their website dashboard. For those who want to roam the web looking for news or articles to share, PressForward also provides a bookmarklet that makes it possible to capture content for your website with a simple click on your toolbar.
With the death of Google Reader and shortcomings of the feed readers left in its place, PressForward steps in to innovate the way you use both web feeds and your website’s dashboard. With PressForward, RSS feeds bring content directly to your dashboard, where you can review an item, mark it for further consideration, and publish it for others to read. Unlike other comparable plugins, PressForward emphasizes community and collaboration by including a discussion feature that allows team members to comment on each item brought in via RSS feed or the bookmarklet.
Powering the popular site Digital Humanities Now, an online publication with more than fourteen thousand Twitter followers, the PressForward plugin has made it possible for an editorial team to sift through the material produced by more than 700 RSS feeds, discuss it with teams of volunteers, and format and publish features, news, and announcements twice a week.
Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the PressForward Plugin was developed as part of a larger research project aimed at helping people discover and share the large quantities of material – often called gray literature – that is published on the web but hard to find through a simple google search. According to project director Joan Fragaszy Troyano, “scholars and professionals stay current with their field by monitoring the web as much as they do by reading formal publications. PressForward enables a community to build a lightweight, collaboratively-edited publication both sourced from, and published on, the open web.”
In the coming months, the PressForward team will be offering support to new users of the plugin, including conducting a workshop at the digital humanities conference DH2014, answering questions on the WordPress support forum for the plugin, and presenting the plugin to groups of academics and publishing and library professionals. If you are interested in attending or hosting a workshop, starting your own publication with the PressForward plugin, or featuring PressForward in your own publication, please contact Stephanie Westcott at firstname.lastname@example.org.