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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Digital Humanities Quarterly: A Review

 

Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ) is a journal that publishes at least once a year. The publication includes articles, issues in digital humanities, reviews, and case studies. The journal is mostly read by those in the DH community. However, the website specifies that the journal “extends more broadly to related domains and to the interested non-specialist: for instance, humanities faculty, digital artists, museum curators, archivist, and the like.” Some of the journals are labeled as special editions because there is a particular theme woven throughout every piece published in that edition. For example, 9.2 is Feminisms in Digital Humanities. On a larger scale, the journal addresses the interests of the rhetoric of digital authoring, addressing the divide between the print and the digital, experiments in interactive media, reviews of different books, websites, news media art installations, and digital humanities systems and tools. The journal is versatile and relevant in its content. Some topics that the journal’s readers may be interested in include the new and upcoming tools in DH, being able to read about tools before the use them, the discussions and debates within the community, theory related to DH content.

In terms of navigation, the website is incredibly easy to navigate. The left side of the page has the different issues, which link you to the table of contents. In the table of contents, there are links to the actual articles. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the way the website is set up is that you can click on a plus arrow below the author’s name and it will open the abstract for you on the page. This makes it easy to navigate and get a preview of the article before you open it. There were no issues I ran into while moving throughout the website. DHQ is specifically designed to be able to withstand times and changes in formatting and the internet. The format in which they publish is meant to be easy to navigate and not change if the internet does.

DHQ is not particularly beautiful, but it is simple. The main logo is in the top left corner, and the banner is easy to navigate and is set up in a way that makes sense. No matter what page you move on to, the issues stay on the left hand of the page which makes it easy to click around and still get back to where you need. I did not find myself getting particularly “lost” in the website. Perhaps one of the most appealing parts of the website is how easy its appearance makes it to navigate. The aesthetics, overall, do converge with the content in ways that make visual sense to me.

The submission tab is on the top of the navigation bar and is easy to find. The tab links directly to the submission guidelines. DHQ accepts submissions at a rolling two-month intervals. The submission must be in XML encoded in the DHQ markup language, XML encoded in TEI, or RFT, Open Office, or MS Word. In order to be published, the editors specify that the submission “must fall within the content of the journal, it must be addressed to an appropriate audience, it must have an argument and should represent an original contribution to the research and practice of the digital humanities field, or should offer an original analysis, critique, or viewpoint on some aspect thereof, and it must be well writing, and must present its argument clearly and interestingly.” After the article is submitted, it is peer reviewed before being considered for publication. There is no guideline specifying whether or not there can be co-authored submissions. However, there are many co-authored articles and case studies that are in the journals. The articles can have visual images in them (including images, audio, video, and accompanying data sets). The biggest thing for DHQ, though, is to be able to maintain long-term access to the journal content so their guidelines for formatting visual images are very tight. DHQ encourages the writing submitted to be inclusive of people who may not be privy to the DH scene. However, they do only accept articles, issues in DH, reviews, or case studies. If something creative or non-academic could fit into one of those categories then there is a chance. But most of the articles I found were centered around more academic topics.

I wish I could spend all my time reading the articles that are in the journal.