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Editors' Note: March 2023

Editors' note on the March 2023 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities

Published onMar 27, 2023
Editors' Note: March 2023

Welcome to the March 2023 issue of Reviews in Digital Humanities!

We’re incredibly excited to share some big news about the journal. We’ve received a $566,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to expand our operations and plan for the future of the journal. Here’s our plan.

Organizational Expansion: We’ve selected new topic editors for 10 areas of high demand for the journal. These editors or editorial teams receive compensation for three years of work building the project and reviewer pools in these areas. We will be working with them to produce issues on these topics. We’re excited to welcome our new topic editors:

  • African and African Diaspora Studies: Tinashe Mushakavanhu and Cherice Escobar Jones

  • Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies: Alíz Horváth and Doa Sarmad Khan

  • Community-engaged Digital Humanities: Jamila Moore Pewu, Scherly Virgill, and Bruno Buccalon

  • Endangered Cultural Heritage: Madeleine Kraft and Felix Oke

  • Global Indigenous Studies: William Parish

  • Latinx Studies: Elena Foulis and Jennifer Lozano

  • Queer Studies: Corey Clawson

  • Reviews in the Classroom: R.C. Miessler, Kalani Craig, and Lu Wang

  • Social Justice Pedagogy: Danica Savonick and Kush Patel

  • Trans and Gender Studies: Nikita Shepard

Compensation for Reviewers: Like other journals, Reviews has been struggling to find reviewers. We’re also particularly concerned about including voices from contingent faculty, graduate students, and professionals in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. To incentivize their participation in the journal, topic editors will receive a budget for compensating reviewers whose job descriptions do not include forms of service that extend to peer review.

Translation: In the past, we’ve published bilingual issues in English and Spanish. The labor is substantial and has typically fallen to the editors of those issues. This isn’t a sustainable path towards multilingualism. As a result, we’re now able to pay for translation for reviews of projects with multilingual audiences.

Assessment and Redevelopment of Project Registry: An unexpected outcome of our work on Reviews was learning that the journal has become a way of finding projects. How can we improve that experience? We’re excited that the Mellon grant has allowed us to hire Roxanne Shirazi to evaluate our model and identify needed changes. We have also budgeted funds for PubPub, in anticipation of developments to their search functionality that would improve our user experience.

Planning for the Future: While we have committed to running the journal through 2030, we want to pass it along to new leadership because we don’t see it as belonging to us but to our community. The organizational expansion is one way we are investing in succession planning, but we are also tackling financial planning directly. With Mellon’s support, we have begun working with Sherr Lo and Mariesa Kubasek of the Nonprofit Finance Fund to identify strategies to safeguard a financial future for the journal that supports our commitment to ensuring Reviews is an open-access journal.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress along the way.

In this month’s issue, we’re pleased to share four projects that engage public audiences in a range of histories. Our issue features:

  • History of Early American Landscape Design, a digital resource for early U.S. landscape aesthetics and garden design in the colonial and national periods, directed by Therese O'Malley and Matthew J. Westerby and reviewed by Ann E. Komora;

  • Outliers and Outlaws, a public digital humanities project based on the Eugene Lesbian Oral History Project, created by Judith Raiskin, Courtney Hermann, and Kerribeth Elliott and reviewed by Cameron Blevins;

  • That Shakespeare Life, a podcast exploring the historical contexts of William Shakespeare, directed by Cassidy Cash and reviewed by Darren Freebury-Jones; and

  • QR code Quilt, an ArcGIS StoryMap exploring the digital and tactile dimensions of information, created by Kelsey Dufresne and Mary Downs and reviewed by Liz Polcha.

One of the valuable contributions of digital humanities is making collections accessible to new audiences. Both the History of Early American Landscape Design and Outliers and Outlaws do just that. One of the challenges of digital collections is ensuring that users have meaningful paths into the materials. These projects show great care in the ways they are leveraging digital media and technologies to create these paths.

Another critical dimension of digital humanities is considering the needs and experiences of non-academic users. That Shakespeare Life and QR Code Quilt are compelling examples. That Shakespeare Life leverages lightness of tone and humor, while QR Code Quilt taps into personal experiences and reflections on memory making. At the same time, they present their work in scholarly ways that are no less enticing for academic audiences.

Do you want new issues of Reviews delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to our mailing list! Want to nominate a project for review or submit your own? Drop us a note at [email protected].

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