PressForward for Collaborative Online Publications

PFLogo_transparentI was lucky enough to win a Museum Cross-Pollinator Fellowship to attend this year’s Digital Library Federation Forum in Atlanta (thank you, DLF and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation). There were many wonderful presentations, and today I’d like to share info from one talk about a new WordPress plugin that facilitates the aggregation and curation of online content to create a new sort of open journal.

From the PressForward website blog: “The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the team that brought you Zotero and Omeka, announces the release of its newest digital tool, the PressFoward Plugin.  A tool for aggregating, curating and publishing content from the web, PressForward will change the way that websites find and publish the news and stories they share. PressForward enables individuals and communities to develop their own aggregated publications and will change the way that journalists, bloggers, and institutions find audiences for their work.”

Good, scholarly, online content proliferates fast. It is nearly impossible for one person to identify all the useful sites where such content is presented. So how do we stay up to date? The model presented by PressForward includes the use of bookmarklets to help aggregate content, and tools for editorial collaboration that allow a team of editors to work together to sift through that content and present it in an online journal for the benefit of all in their field.

To see how an end product might look, visit Digital Humanities Now. A glance at their Editors Corner will provide a full explanation of their process. The site is edited by a group of volunteers. Editors at Large suggest online articles for inclusion in the weekly publication, while other suggestions are collected from commonly cited websites via bookmarklets. The Editor in Chief for the week selects which of the submissions to publish. PressForward works with WordPress, and the final publication can be presented on a standard WordPress site.

Just think how a PressForward online journal for ARLIS might look. Content aggregated from all our websites and blogs, information from other online sources, reviewed by arts librarians, curated for arts librarians. Would it make your job easier? Using PressForward tools, Digital Humanities Now estimates that Editors at Large need schedule only 5 hours a week to work on the publication during their one-week shift. How many editors might we be able to find? Would students completing their Masters’ programs want to participate as editors? Would a publication like this be worth 5 hours every few months? The Editor in Chief needs to spend a bit more time preparing, but with shared editorial responsibility the task need not be onerous.

I was excited by the possibilities of PressForward, and the model of collaborative editing it promotes. Anyone else interested in looking at this more closely?