What About Me?
Today was our first SubCAT meeting of the season. While we operate under the aegis of the CAC we check in once a month with their sub-committee to talk about progress that’s been made and where we want to be by the next meeting. It’s pretty standard fair for anyone who’s familiar with the chain of oversight, but I what I love about these meetings is getting to hear from some voices that we don’t hear from as often. The Community and Development teams have a pretty good idea of how we think the site should grow and what features should go up on the board, but something came up today that I think deserves some ink (pixels?) here and I hope to hear back from you.
Have you ever read an article in whatever journals you’re attached to and wish you could challenge the authors or flesh out some ideas of your own against their research? Or perhaps the opposite; your article passes peer review, goes to print and then, aside from some emails, a few presentations and compulsively checking to see if you’ve been cited yet, you don’t get the opportunity to share your enthusiasm and talk about some ideas that didn’t make the cut?
Bring those conversations to the Commons!
While the interior of our community is for CUNY faculty, staff and graduate students, the blog format is open to voices from around the world. Sharing your publishing successes and hosting conversations about them here is an excellent way to reach out to other scholars inside of the CUNY community and the wider world of the Academy. This space is an excellent resource to engage with some of the best of the best and it’s something we don’t see a lot of online. It’s easy to just be happy the thing was written before deadline and made the cut, but the dialogue that could grow from those first hand conversations might be invaluable to a significant audience and lead your work to some interesting places.
We’re not bashful about how unique we are here. Take a look around the web, you’ll be hard pressed to find many other universities embracing the internet and pushing the boundaries of what constitutes online pedagogy. There’s a real opportunity here to redefine what it is to “publish” and develop new ways to get your research and efforts to a greater audience.
Let’s give it a shot and see what happens.
This is an important discussion, Brian. We need to think aloud — and with our members — about some of the ways in which a faculty member who, say, has just published a book can promote/discuss/share that work on the Commons. The challenge is both a technological one — we should have tools in place (be they blogs, special BuddyPress pages, etc.) — and a social one — how best to create a conversation around a book or article?
Certainly, many authors are now taking to the web and to social media to drive discussion of their work. Here are blogs by two scholars in my own field of digital humanities who have done that recently:
Richard Grusin, Premediation (supporting _Premediation: Affect and Mediality After 9/11_)
Matthew Kirschenbaum, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (supporting _Mechanisms_).
In both cases, the authors are using blogs to centralize discussion of their work; they’re linking to reviews, responding to public queries, and tracking news items that relate to their books. We can absolutely accomodate that kind of thing on the Commons, and I know that you and other members of the Community team would be happy to work with scholars to set up that kind of blog.
Some scholars, like Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Noah Wardrip-Fruin have also experimented by setting up blogs for their books that display the text of their work and invite comments in the sidebar. Both of these experiments in peer review are examples we could potentially replicate here if members are interested.
But that’s not the only thing we can do. The Commons is a rich space with multiple tools, and I’m looking forward to exploring ways in which we can use some of the social-networking features on the site to enable a greater amount of scholarly discussion around the work of our members.