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ODU Prof Helps Create Anthologize, a Free Tool for Humanities Scholars

After a week of intense collaboration, Old Dominion University's Kathie Gossett and her fellow participants in the "One Week | One Tool" http://oneweekonetool.org workshop on Aug. 3 launched Anthologize, http://anthologize.org, a free, open-source tool to publish weblog content in a variety of book formats.

Organized by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the One Week | One Tool project was inspired by the model of the rural barn-raising tradition. It involved 12 dynamic individuals from across the country who gathered at CHNM with the mission to create, build and release - in just seven days - a digital tool useful to humanities scholars.

One of those selected was Gossett, an assistant professor of rhetoric and new media in the ODU English department. Other project team members included museum professionals, recent university graduates, graduate students, librarians and digital humanities staff members.

Gossett led the User Experience team and was directly responsible for designing the graphical user interface (GUI) for Anthologize. With support from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities, she will continue to work with the team on designing and adding features to Anthologize over the next year.

As Gossett explained, Anthologize enables anyone working with WordPress to grab blog posts, feeds or newly authored works; craft and edit the content; and then publish that content as a compelling volume available in several formats, including PDF, ePub and TEI, an open XML format for storage and exchange.

"Scholars, cultural heritage professionals and educators are increasingly turning to blogs to disseminate their ideas, but content often lies dormant after it is posted," she noted. "Anthologize harvests and organizes that digitally created content and enables new types of collaborative and process-oriented authored publications."

Anthologize is also flexible, making it attractive to many users. 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.

"As a digital scholar, I sometimes struggle to make my research visible in more traditional formats. With Anthologize I will be able to move from digital to eBook to print easily - and all in the same interface," Gossett said.

Reflecting on her participation in the unique collaboration, she added: "About 30 minutes into One Week | One Tool, I tweeted, 'Heaven = Sitting in a room full of humanities folks who all have laptops open discussing [the] software [development] cycle!'

"At the end of the week after spending 12 to 16 hours a day with those 'humanities folks,' I still felt the same way. It was a testament to what 12 smart, talented and focused people could do together in six days."

During the first 48 hours after Anthologize was released, it was downloaded approximately 1,070 times, Gossett noted, and within hours of its launch, users and open-source developers were providing feedback to the Anthologize team.

A video featuring workshop participants discussing the project can be found on YouTube athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycIVnFkOIfQ&sns=em.

This article was posted on: August 6, 2010

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