October 15 was the Blog Action Day 2o12. The subject: The power of we. The hashtags: #poweofwe, #bad12. So far: 2378 blogs from 111 countries, using 43 different languages.
Like a Mexican-cliché, I came late. But I was moved by Erneto Priego’s post and there was something I really wanted to say, so I thought I should definitely give it a try.
So first, a little bit of my context:
The idea of this project is to encourage all our researchers to publish their scholarly work in our web platform already thinking in the Internet reader (short chapters, good images, hyperlinks) and also to spread the OA spirit (we are a public university, after all, is the less that we could do).
We haven’t achieve this goal. Not yet. But we certainly will.
We’re already in our university’s repository, but there are good reason why I have decided to keep our own page (and improve it by migrating it to a WordPress-based plataform):
- Publishing something in a repository doesn’t mean (not in Mexico, not in many countries) that you will be read. Believe it or not, many use Internet for other things than reading Academic Publications (for more information on this, try to think in the word “entertainment“). Astonishing, I know. So, we must try (we Academic Publications) not only to say something interesting but to say it in an interesting way.
- Academic Publishing must not (compulsory) be (just) entertainment, but it certainly can be more appealing. Repositories are useful (I <3 them), but I must say, they aren’t pretty.
- I like the sharing knowledge part, that means I also love people re-sharing what they have learned (making public notes, tweeting what they read). Repositories usually don’t have share buttons and all that stuff and we want that (abstracts in our blog, quotes in tumblr, images in facebook, wordclouds, etc).
- Publishing in the XXI century shouldn’t (only) mean learning how to say something in a new way but also how to hear the others in a new way. I believe this, so I’m trying to build up an active readers community by
- encouraging comments on our books posts (do they have relevant content?, erratum?);
- adding to every book/chapter written by one of our scholars a link to their personal webpage
- writing the author’s email after the title hoping that fosters readers to raise questions/suggestions directly to them
This said it would seem, we’re doing perfectly well. But (and this is my whole point) it wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t because of the people behind the great things that are online.
I live in a very small town. In Mexico. Digital projects don’t just happen (that often) and they certainly aren’t that common in Xalapa.
So this let’s-try-to-improve-my-job-thing has been inspired and possible not by things I read/search in the web (as I once thought) but because there’s people out there sharing stuff in the first place.
That’s why I decided to talk about that virtual-we, and use this post in order to thank that people behind the links who have encouraged/inspired my digital intentions.
So first I should say that in my country Isabel Galina and Ernesto Priani opened the world of Digital Humanities for me. That has meant a lot. Not only they organized the first DH encounter in Mexico, but they are always open to help and teach (Priani came and gave us a free course on TEI and Galina has always answered any question I raise by phone and email)
Ernesto Priego and Elika Ortega are also great, they are both very active in twitter (always sharing meaningful stuff @ernestopriego and @elikaortega) and they have also been very supportive with my doubts.
Of course I would need to thank many others in this post, and I eventually will. I didn’t mean to cover the totality of people who has encouraged my way. And many of them are not necessarily active in blogs and twitter (Pablo Velasco from UNAM; Mandy Gagel from U. Loyola; my boss, Miguel Angel Casillas) and many of them are kind of anonymous, like whoever had the idea of launching w3schools, Calibre’s developer (Kovid Goyal?), DSpace Contributors, WordPress folks, Academia.edu developers, Zotero’s team, and almost anyone with this Linux, OpenAccess, CreativeCommons action spirit.
My point (if I have any) is that this virtual-we is great and powerful: a countryside girl like me would have never achieved some of her dreams if it wasn’t for this community. And I think we shouldn’t forget that. I mean, that there is real people behind every cool thing we find in the web. And that, if it’s open and free, it is probably because this people cares. And if this guys write you back, share stuff you might use not protecting their small niche but expanding your opportunities… well, it kind of makes the world look like a better place.