Journal Report: Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology

Ada is a web-only academic journal centered around feminist issues within the digital humanities. It covers a variety of topics under the heading of feminism and digital humanities, introducing a new focus with each issue.

The website for this journal has a simple layout. The clean, open background space and the toolbar at the top keeps it from feeling very cluttered. The search option could potentially be slightly less hidden, as it appears in the form of a button that unfolds into a search bar, rather than as an immediately visible search bar. The search option itself unfortunately cannot be used to search based on the names of writers, and instead only searches for terms in the title and body of the articles themselves.

The journal is relatively young; it started in 2012 and has published biannually, their most recent issue being the eighth. The issues and the articles are very easy to find, being listed right there on the main page. Once you navigate inside an issue or individual article, the left-hand sidebar makes it easy to identify both the number and general topic of the issue you’re in. The information will follow you as you scroll, eliminating the need to scroll back to the top to check the information or link to the previous or next article. The only downside to these sidebars is that the background images they contain tend to be low-resolution and blurry. They adapt the formatting of their article pages naturally and organically to the digital format, including both a comment system and options for sharing to various social media platforms.

The website is well-integrated with social media, also providing links at the top of every page to find them on multiple different platforms, as well as an XML view of the page you’re on. The social media links lead to pages not for the journal itself, but for the Fembot Collective, the group organizing the journal.

The journal and website is made for their writers as much as their readers. Their submission guidelines and review process are easily accessible from the toolbar at the top of every page. Information for writers is also found under the “issues” tab, which is slightly counter-intuitive, as the Call for Papers is the only thing missing from the main page which this tab adds. Writers have to go through here to find the email address to which they should send their submissions, which may not be entirely clear from the layout of the site.

The content of the journal is very accessible; despite the journal’s peer-reviewed status, it remains free to access, rather than being hidden behind a paywall. The greatest barrier to accessing the journal in the first place is that the journal is web-only. I find the writing style of the articles themselves to be very easy to process, contrary to my usual experience with peer-reviewed writing.

The discourse of the journal is greatly diverse; a quick glance at the titles of each issue reveals a clear effort at a diverse discourse. These issue titles point to an emphasis on intersectionality, which is an essential part of feminist discourse. They do, however, focus primarily on intersectionality with race and appear to focus less on intersectionality with other marginalized identities. Disappointingly, despite their focus on gender, the journal contains almost nothing about nonbinary genders; the only article that alludes to nonbinary genders at all is found, as expected, in Issue 5, “Queer Feminist Media Praxis.”

On the whole, however, Ada is a wonderful journal containing a variety of interesting discussion around social justice conversations that need to be had within the digital humanities community.

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