Happy Anniversary, PressForward! Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation and based at George Mason University’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the PressForward project was born two years ago with a mission to showcase the varied, dynamic, and provocative digital humanities scholarship published on the open web. To do this, the project has developed and nurtured two publications: Digital Humanities Now (DHNow) and the Journal of Digital Humanities (JDH). Those periodicals work hand in hand to surface gray literature and, at the same time, act as an experiment in open access publication. DHNow, developed four years ago and then relaunched as part of the PressForward initiative, is now published twice a week. Three times a year, JDH publishes a volume of articles culled from the material surfaced through DHNow, conferences, and other little-noticed online sources. In addition, PressForward has been working to develop the tools necessary to disseminate literature that benefits digital humanities communities. We’ve worked to put those tools in the hands of groups like dh+lib, and watched with excitement as their publications grew.
The result of these efforts is a community of participants and practitioners that offer their time and talents each and every week. JDH and DHNow represent the labors of 175 editors, 100 authors, and ten faculty and graduate student staff members. But this anniversary, we also want to celebrate the readers that come to our sites each and every day. In 2013 alone, DHNow has seen more than 320,00 visits and 834,000 page views. During the month of October, more than ten thousand unique visitors came to that site. Though it is published far less frequently, JDH has seen more than 127,000 visits this year, with more than 414,00 page views. In September, it was able to keep pace with DHNow, welcoming nearly ten thousand unique visitors. If our research reveals anything, it’s the vibrancy and generosity of digital humanities communities.
In celebration of those communities, this second anniversary will see the launch of an outreach campaign that will bring you more detail about our methods. We’ve already redesigned the DHNow website for easier reading and participation, particularly with a new Editors-at-Large Corner. Through blog posts like this one, we’ll be sharing our research and conclusions. And this spring, we’ll roll out the PressForward WordPress plugin, a tool designed to make the task of curating and aggregating gray literature easier and more accessible, in hopes that this is only the beginning of the projects and publications that PressForward makes possible.