Although there are a number of excellent digital collections in the humanities, I’m troubled that many don’t get the scholarly recognition and usage that they deserve. Moreover, it seems that there are too few examples of works of digital scholarship that make use of such collections in imaginative ways, such as by employing text mining, image analysis, or other algorithmic approaches, crafting scholarly arguments that take advantage of the affordances of digital publishing, or inviting the audience to explore supporting evidence. I suspect that one reason for the paucity of such scholarship is the lack of appropriate publishing venues (although there are some terrific journals in this space, including Vectors, Southern Spaces, Kairos, Sensate and Archive).
That’s why Anvil Academic (the start-up digital publisher for which I serve as program manager) is launching the Built Upon series.
Contributors to Built Upon will develop digital scholarly arguments or pedagogical projects that make innovative use of digital collections and tools. These contributions will be arranged into thematic clusters (such as “Civil War America”), and we expect that the contributions will be in conversation with each other and with their larger audience.
Soon we will release our call for authors, which will provide more details about our expectations for Built Upon contributions. At this stage, we are inviting digital collections (aka digital archives, digital libraries, etc) in the humanities to participate in the Built Upon series. As Built Upon partners, digital collections would make their resources available for scholarly use (which many already do) and provide limited technical assistance to authors. We also invite partners to participate in the peer review process and to assist with outreach and promotion efforts. Already Anvil has lined up some first-rate partners, including Visualizing Emancipation, Valley of the Shadow, many of the NINES federated projects, and ORBIS. For more about this initiative, please see yesterday’s announcement on the Anvil web site.