Editors' note on the April/May 2020 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities
Reviews in Digital Humanities has been pleased to share our first three issues with members of digital humanities communities on a monthly basis. These issues present a curated vision of the diverse, inclusive, and responsive peer review that we continue in this issue and intend to continue in future issues of the journal. As co-editors, we strongly believe that what makes Reviews function is the community we are building: the project directors, reviewers, and readers.
Beginning in March 2020, we responded to the disruption of COVID-19 with the needs of our community at the forefront of our decisions. We decreased the burdens on project directors and reviewers by extending deadlines for overviews and reviews, reducing email solicitations for new overviews, and hitting pause on our growing pool of reviewers. With the average time from solicitation to publication of a review at less than 90 days, these changes represented a significant disruption to the workflow of the journal. But we simply did not want to pressure anyone to contribute or have them feel like they weren’t upholding their promises to contribute. In the midst of a global pandemic, we wanted to support our community, including those who are finding additional work challenging, experiencing professional precarity, serving as caregivers, or experiencing illness. In fact, one of our editors (Roopika Risam) came down with COVID-19 during this time and continues to negotiate its after-effects. We hope to continue publishing on a monthly basis, but we know that the global pandemic continues to be a threat and will make adjustments as necessary — always with our community in mind.
We are, however, thrilled to bring our readers the April/May 2020 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities. This month, we showcase four projects that engage with sources of rich cultural heritage around the world.
Borderlands Archives Cartography, a digital mapping project of U.S.-Mexico border periodicals, directed by Maira E. Álvarez and Sylvia A. Fernández and reviewed by Nike Nivar Ortiz;
Lansing Urban Renewal Project, a georectified map tracing the development and impact of urban renewal in Lansing, Michigan since 1950, created by John Aerni-Flessner and students in RCAH 192 at Michigan State University in Spring 2018 and 2019 and reviewed by Adina Langer;
Money and Exchange in West Africa, an archival collection demonstrating the vibrant monetary system in West Africa from the 18th to 20th centuries, directed by Leigh Gardner and Ellen Feingold and reviewed by Rebecca Shumway;
Mini Lazarillo, a minimal digital edition of Lazarillo de Tormes, created by Susanna Allés-Torrent, Alex Gil, Armando León, Falls Kennedy, Fiona Kibblewhite, and Taewan Shim and reviewed by Gimena del Rio Riande.
The projects featured in this issue demonstrate that engaging and provocative digital humanities projects emerge from a wide variety of conditions of production. Whether supported by vaunted institutions like Money and Exchange in West Africa from the Smithsonian Learning Lab and London School of Economics or created without institutional support like Borderlands Archives Cartography, digital humanities projects provide valuable points of entry into cultural heritage for multiple publics. Pedagogical and course-based projects created with undergraduate students also have much to offer, as the Lansing Urban Renewal Project and Mini Lazarillo compellingly illustrate.
Reviews in Digital Humanities is committed to demonstrating and facilitating peer review for the wide range of digital humanities scholarship being developed. Join our experiment by submitting a project for review, nominating a project you admire, volunteering for our reviewer pool, and telling your colleagues and students about the journal.