By Mark Reilly
January 21, 2011
The latest project from the MediaCommons network (mediacommons.futureofthebook.org) is The New Everyday (mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne), launched in September 2010. A website and an experiment in "middle-state publishing," the New Everyday is a web publication "between a blog and a journal" where "middle state" describes the point between the initial idea and the final published format. NYU Libraries' Digital Libraries Technology Services (DLTS) designed and developed the New Everyday as well as the current MediaCommons site.
The heart of The New Everyday is the concept of the cluster: a space organized around a central topic or theme with invited contributors. There is an open call for scholars wishing to curate a new cluster, each of which is open for posted comments for a period of two months. The opening cluster, curated by Shannon Mattern of the New School's Media Studies department, is titled Notes, Lists, and Everyday Inscriptions and examines "how different processes of and platforms for note-taking shape the everyday ways we think, record, and remember." A week after the launch, it was mentioned in the Wired Campus section of the Chronicle of Higher Education in a piece written by Travis Kaya titled "Online Forum Takes Notes on Note Taking."
As the development of The New Everyday website focused on creating a workflow centered around the concept of the cluster, curators are able to create a cluster and invite contributors from within the MediaCommons network through the web interface. Contributors are then able to log in and start creating their piece using the WYSIWYG text editor. Notes, Lists, and Everyday Inscriptions, for example, has a number of multimedia-rich pieces. DLTS created custom functionality to tie the site into the NYU Libraries' djatoka-powered image-viewing service, allowing users to explore highly detailed images and photographs. Another feature allows contributors to embed video simply by including a YouTube link: the embedded player will then automatically appear in the published post. Images are easily added, resized, and placed using the WYSIWYG editor, and contributors can use many of the same tools in the web interface that they are accustomed to having in desktop word-processing environments. Once the cluster is published, users are encouraged to comment and respond to the posts. These responses scroll alongside the content for added accessibility and to encourage participation.
In 2007, the Institute for the Future of the Book created MediaCommons as a digital scholarly network. DLTS took over development of MediaCommons under a National Endowment for the Humanities funding grant. The first phase in this development was a redesign of MediaCommons and its initial project In Media Res (mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr), including a move from Wordpress, a blogging platform, to Drupal, a content management framework for building custom content management systems. Both MediaCommons and In Media Res relaunched in January 2009. The creation of a user profile system was the next phase of development for MediaCommons. Launched in November 2009, the user profile system includes the ability to import publications, find colleagues with similar interests, blog, and share research interests.
The New Everyday's managing editor is Nicholas Mirzoeff of NYU Steinhardt's Media, Culture, and Communication department, while NYU visiting scholar Kathleen Fitzpatrick of Pomona College is a coordinating editor of MediaCommons. Taking advantage of this, DLTS and the NYU Press will be working with MediaCommons on a number of exciting new scholarly communication projects in the coming year. Currently, we are working collaboratively with other universities' technical staff to create two new MediaCommons sites: #alt-ac (alternative academy) with the University of Virginia Library and Open Canister with Indiana University.
Mark Reilly is an Interactive Designer and Developer within ITS Faculty Technology Services and Digital Library Technology Services.
This Article is in the following Topics:
Connect - Information Technology at NYU