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Crowdsourcing the Best Digital Humanities Content: Introducing #DHThis, the Digital Humanities Slashdot

crowdsourcing-525x350In the world of print, editors traditionally serve as a screening mechanism to ensure that only the best work sees the light of publication. In academia, peer review serves the same purpose. By relying on the judgment of other experts, a journal ensures that only certain types of work will appear within its pages. But with the advent of the Internet and easy-to-use content management systems like WordPress and Blogger, the power to publish is now in anyone’s hands. How then should the process for deciding quality be redefined for the digital age?

If you have been frustrated by the editorial model and the gatekeeping systems within traditional peer review, here is your chance to contribute to a new platform to re-envision scholarly publishing. This post introduces a experiment: DHThis.org, a new platform where a community instead of a small group of editors select the most valuable content within the digital humanities. DHThis is a news aggregator which “publishes” what the community votes to be the best or most relevant work. It is similar to Slashdot and Reddit, where registered users submit content which is then upvoted or downvoted by other members of the community. Only posts that have received enough votes by the community will be “published” on the front page of DHThis. DHThis provides an communal alternative to curating the best of “post-publication” digital humanities material. At the moment, the only other digital humanities publication venues for similar material are Digital Humanities Now and the Journal of Digital Humanities, both which still rely, at least in part, on an editorial model to curate content. DHThis flips this model, shifting the control of highlighting material to an entire community.

Get Involved

register

To be part of the community, just sign upRegistration is free and open to anyone.

How it Works

All users need to be registered before they can submit material. Register here.

Once you register, you get to submit items for the community’s consideration. Currently, submissions need at least five upvotes to be “published” on the front page of DHThis. The following screenshot shows the front page of the site with posts that have received five or more upvotes:

front page

While this is our current review model, we hope it will grow and change in response to need. Users are invited to comment on their experience and offer feedback via the hashtag #DHThis on Twitter.

How to Vote

Registered users can vote on posts on the front page, or the “New” page. The “New” page is where all submissions initially appear for community review. If a post does not receive 5 or more upvotes in 10 days, the post will not be published.

new and upvoting

Registered users can give votes using the thumbs up/thumbs down feature on the post. A minimum of five upvotes are required by the community for the post to be “published” on the DHThis front page. The DHThis comment feature enables broad conversation about what an article offers to the community, offering the community a space to define what is/are the digital humanities.

DHThis Live

The site also lets you view the most recent actions taken/items submitted on DHThis through the “live” page on the footer:

LIVE

DHThis is an initiative by myself, Martin Eve (@martin_eve), Roopika Risam (@roopikarisam), Jesse Stommel (@jessifer) and Alex Gil (@elotroalex) to support new forms of engagement within the digital humanities. The review and commenting system is experimental, and will evolve over time through the experience of its users.

Our hope is that users will work to gather alternative  and unexpected voices in the digital humanities to assemble a more inclusive and playful assortment of news, articles, postings and resources. Please offer feedback early and often using the hashtag #DHThis on Twitter. We hope to see you on DHThis very soon!

NB. DHThis is still in beta and has some bugs. We’d appreciate it if you’d let us know any problems you encounter using the site by filling in the bug report sheet (also on the top right corner of the header). 

Top image credit: Socialbrite. Other images screenshots from DHThis.

Thanks to Jesse Stommel and Roopika Risam for feedback on this post.

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