Journal of Digital Humanities

((I’m adding this in at the beginning because I want to note that I did write this up and had it set to post right after my presentation, but I think I tabbed out of the window just short of it completing the process. My apologies.))

Journal of Digital Humanities was a fascinating read, and while there happened to be an immediate issue that I found particular interest in for my presentation of the article, it was it was still incredibly interesting to go through and look at other entries to the journal beyond what I focused on for the presentation. In that regard, the journal is fairly extensive and diverse for the number of entries it currently has, bridging a wide gap from discussing the difference of presenting medium digitally to how visuals affect the presentation of studies. Unfortunately, as the journal has continued, those articles are becoming more and more sparse, making some topics feel more thoroughly discussed than others. Which is a real shame, since all the articles are very interesting to read.

What I found incredibly unique about the journal though was the submission process. Before even submitting an article, writers are required to submit a sort of “digital resume” through their online activity and posts. In a way, this validates an individual by saying they have been producing a lot of good content before even coming here, and it also says that if you enjoyed an article that you can find that writer making content of a similar type on another platform. It’s a great way to make sure someone is going to bring a good name to the journal, and in return, that person gets free advertising to their other media outlets. All of these articles are then reviewed by a volunteer editor program called Editor-at-Large, which is a body of DHers with some standing in the community. The requirements to apply for Editor-at-Large are a little broad, but it’s encouraged that the applicant is associated with an institution. In any case, the editor board being somewhat prestigious only adds to the fact that the articles that get into Journal of Digital Humanities are also of a high quality.

I think the major issue for the website though is the feel of it. I tried for a while to identify who I thought would be attracted to this website, and I found it difficult to decide on any particular age group. Mostly, I think this is due the layout of the journal. There are so many facets to it that don’t really mix well with each other that it feels like a little disjointed. The home page launches the reader on the most recent issue, instead of a summary to the site or any direction to allow the reader to pick what they want to read. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this, except this kind of assumed interest is carried across the whole layout. It is very difficult to actually find the topics of the issues individually. I think this is unappealing to a lot of readers, which is a shame. If you actually click on and read the article, then the content itself will definitely be quality. It’s just a matter of assuming that the reader is interested in the first place, without anything given away besides a single image, which could stem in all kinds of directions. That makes it feel very click-bait-y, which is an unhealthy approach for a journal of this quality, or at least, that’s how I feel about it.

In short, Journal of Digital Humanities is a diverse source of content about DH, but is severely suffering from a poor layout design that doesn’t really encourage readers to engage in the content. If the website’s layout weren’t so cluttered and more linear, as well as maybe that high gate of article entry being slightly lowered, I feel like readers would be fair more engaged to read and more writers would be encouraged to add to it. I hope that’s a consideration of the team behind it, in adding that layer of transparency, because the content that is already there is thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining. Catching up on the whole contents thus far is definitely something I am writing down as a summer read.

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