Twelve digital humanities scholars walk into a barn-raising… It’s not the opening line of a witty joke you try to deliver at your next tenure-track job interview.
This past week, a dozen scholars participated in the One Week One Tool workshop, organized by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Workshop participants were tasked with learning how to build an open source digital tool for humanities scholarship by actually building a tool – from inception to launch.
And the result of their work – Anthologize – launches today.
Anthologize enables anyone working with WordPress to easily publish their content in a variety of book formats, including PDF, ePUB, and TEI, an open XML format. Anthologize can handle WordPress blog content as well as feeds from other sources, allowing these items to be updated, reordered, and edited, and then exported.
Blogging has become an increasingly important tool for scholars and educators to share their ideas, but once blogged, that’s often the end-of-the-line for that writing. Anthologize organizes this content and enables users to publish and distribute their work in additional ways – via print or e-readers.
The participants in the One Week One Tool project see a great many uses for the tool: “Educators can generate collections of student work; curators can publish new types of exhibition catalogs with behind-the-scenes perspectives; genealogists can publish family histories; and bloggers can generate selections of their best work for print or distribution via Kindle, Nook, or iPad.”
While there are several other blog-to-book tools that enable authors to publish their material (such as Lulu), Anthologize is interesting in a couple of ways. First, it’s a WordPress plugin, which means it’s part of an ecosystem that many bloggers will already be familiar with.
And second, this project is an impressive demonstration of what a small team of scholars can build in a week.