They called it "One Week / One Tool," aka "a digital humanities barn raising": Late last month, the Center for History and New Media, at George Mason University, brought together a dozen humanists who were interested in learning more about open-source software. They would do so in a hands-on way, producing, by the end of their week together, an actual product.
The result is "Anthologize," a WordPress plug-in that assists bloggers in reformatting their past entries into e-books (or, rather, e-book-friendly formats such as PDF, ePub or open XML). The idea is to help scholars bypass traditional publishers and make use of the thriving e-book market.
The Next Web, which summarized the project, asks:
Will a huge number of bad blogs be made into worse books that will then be ignored by discerning readers? Of course. There will be some blogs however that were gold online which will turn into diamond on an e-ink display. Anthologize can't separate the wheat from the chaff, but it can bring the best to us.
Update. A comprehensive account from inside the Anthologize project, with copious links, and a video.
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.