Spring 2018 in the Research Division

My second semester in the Research Division—the final semester of my fellowship—has come to a close. Most of my time was spent working on Digital Humanities Now and PressForward. Both have seen a few changes this spring, but the most exciting news is that we launched the redesign for the PressForward website!

The new website had been in the works for over a year. During our rotation into the Research Division in our first year of the fellowship, Jessica and I actually brushed up on our HTML to create some mockups for the site, so it’s been a great learning experience to see the process from start to finish. Many of the current design elements are things that Jessica and I came up with. It’s rewarding to look at the final product and see how our contributions helped make it happen. Last semester, I continued working on the website by creating/editing some partner profiles. This semester, the rest PressForward team and I spent part of a day gathered together at one table to manually move the website over (it was the best way to do it given our). Now that the website is up, you can also see the presentation slides I created last summer.

Throughout the semester, I also served as Site Manager of Digital Humanities Now, formatting the posts selected by the Editor-in-Chief, managing email, and running DHNow’s Twitter account. I also took a few turns of my own as Editor-in-Chief, choosing posts for publication, like this one and this one. Because DHNow follows so many RSS feeds, we run into a lot of issues with feeds that break for one reason or another. One of the things I worked on this semester was trying to determine why feeds that seemed to be active and functioning properly were still breaking in DHNow’s PressForward plugin. I won’t bore you with specifics, but I was able to provide our developer with information that allowed him to identify an issue.

Finally, I continued to do testing for PressForward. The main improvement we had to test was a new email notification feature that makes it possible send an email to a designated list of recipients every time a post has been nominated. You can learn more about the latest release here. When I first started testing last semester, it was unfamiliar and intimidating. Now I’m much more comfortable with the process and am always glad to hear that we have new things to test. I also got to do some testing for the user management plugin that Amanda Regan originally created for DHNow and wanted to make available to another publication team.

Overall, it’s been another fun and informative semester at the Center. I still can’t believe that my time as a Digital History Fellow is over. The whole experience has been such a complete immersion in the world of digital humanities. It was easy to groan at having to find a post to talk about at our weekly DH Fellow meetings, but I really think I’ll miss those meetings. They provided a reason to stay on top of the latest DH news and an opportunity to think and talk through critical issues. I hope that I’ll continue following the latest developments and ideas as closely as I did as a fellow. Although I’m saying goodbye to the fellowship, it’s not quite the end of my time at the Center. I’m looking forward to spending the summer doing more work on PressForward and serving as full-time site manager and Editor-in-Chief of DHNow.

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