Announcing the PressForward Plugin

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM), the team that brought you Zotero and Omeka, announces the release of its newest open source digital tool, the PressForward Plugin. A tool for aggregating, curating and publishing content from the web, PressForward integrates an RSS / Atom feed reader and editorial workflow directly into the WordPress dashboard. By innovating the use of both web feeds and the WordPress dashboard, PressForward will change the way individuals and online communities collect, discuss, and share open access content they discover on the web.

Available for download from WordPress.org or installation via your site’s Plugins menu, PressForward facilitates collecting content published elsewhere on the web, discussing it with collaborators, and formatting and publishing that content without ever leaving the WordPress dashboard. Through its streamlined editorial process, PressForward increases the capacity for individuals and communities to create sustainable, curated publications and develop engaged audiences for their work.

PressForward improves upon existing feed reader applications by providing a flexible and integrated editorial interface. With PressForward, web feeds bring content directly to your dashboard, where you can review an item, mark it for further consideration, and publish it for others to read. For those who want to share individual works as they discover them, PressForward’s bookmarklet captures content with simply a button that can be added to any browser’s toolbar. Unlike other comparable plugins, PressForward emphasizes community and collaboration by including a discussion feature that allows team members to comment on each item brought in via RSS feed or the bookmarklet. PressForward also enables responsible attribution by retaining original source information and providing an automatic redirect.

Powering the popular site Digital Humanities Now, an online publication with more than fourteen thousand readers, PressForward has made it possible for a small editorial group to sift through the material produced by more than 700 RSS feeds, discuss it with teams of volunteers, and format and distribute features, news, and announcements twice a week. According to project director Joan Fragaszy Troyano, “scholars and professionals stay current with their field by monitoring the web as much as they do by reading formal publications. PressForward enables a community to build a lightweight, collaboratively-edited publication both sourced from, and published on, the open web.”

The PressForward Plugin is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, as one part of a research project aimed at helping researchers discover and share valuable, informal scholarship – often called gray literature – that is published on the web. In the coming months, the PressForward team will support new users of the plugin by hosting workshops, providing a support forum on wordpress.org, and delivering presentations to groups of academics and publishing and library professionals.

For more information about the PressForward Project, plugin, and affiliated publications, please contact Stephanie Westcott at gro.d1413985740rawro1413985740fsser1413985740p@ofn1413985740i1413985740.

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Since 1994, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has used digital media and computer technology to democratize history—to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past. We sponsor more than two dozen digital history projects and offer free tools and resources for historians. Learn More

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