Guest Post: Comments and Testimonials from Humanities Commons Users

Comments and Testimonials from Users

Dr. Kendra Preston Leonard, Executive Director, Silent Film Sound & Music Archive:

Humanities Commons is my coffee shop, my place to learn from other scholars and teachers, a place to have a virtual conference with people whose work I admire and those whose work is new to me. It’s the place where I’ve found community and conversation, a place where I can share materials and what I know about them with the rest of the world, a place where my books have taken flight free from the bindings of traditional presses. It’s a place with the best help desk folks I’ve ever known and truly committed administrators. Humanities Commons has given me so many tools to become the scholar I am today, and I am very, very grateful. I can’t imagine my scholarly life without it. November 10, 2021

Michael Thicke, Technical Lead, Humanities Commons:

When I discovered Humanities Commons not long ago, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. As a social epistemologist, I have become increasingly convinced of the need to reform how academics communicate. Ever-tightening job markets create more and more unreasonable demands to publish, network, and promote ourselves. More and more of our voices are marginalized as traditional academic careers dwindle. For-profit publishers and services take advantage of our desperation.

I joined Humanities Commons as lead developer in June because it represents a different vision of academia: one of community, openness, and inclusiveness. In the last five years Humanities Commons has established itself as a global resource for academics of all interests, backgrounds, and career trajectories. I am excited to be a part of the Commons as it builds upon this success over the next five—as we expand our reach beyond the humanities, as we find new ways to foster communication, and as we improve our ability to serve people of all languages and abilities. November 9, 2021

Bonnie Russell, Project Manager, Humanities Commons:

As a librarian who spent almost a decade in scholarly publishing at a university press, when the opportunity came to work on Humanities Commons, I jumped at it. I had grown increasingly interested in open access, scholarly communication, and the opportunities that digital platforms represent in allowing scholars from around the globe the chance to find one another, work together, and publish new and exciting work. Through my work on the Commons, I’ve met people from across the academic landscape who are pursuing new and innovative ways of communicating and publishing. The Commons provides everyone — from students to faculty to independent scholars — the opportunity to connect and collaborate.

As a project manager, this project is one of the most complex I’ve undertaken. We must be mindful of different disciplines and their needs as we expand the Commons to other areas outside the humanities, constantly assess the accessibility of the platform to ensure that all who wish to may access the work and collaborate with others, and support languages from all over the world. The past 19 months have been some of the most rewarding in my career. I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from my colleagues, and to continue to come up with new and innovative solutions to support our users.

Daniel Cohen, Vice Provost for Information Collaboration, Dean of University Library, and Professor of History at Northeastern University:

Since Humanities Commons launched five years ago, the internet has continued, and maybe even accelerated, along its troubling pathway away from openness and thoughtfulness, and into ethically deficient mega-platforms. The idea of a mutually beneficial “commons” has been dealt a serious, but hopefully not fatal, blow. By standing up a community that supports itself, that runs the technology itself, and that determines its own interactions and its own future, Humanities Commons has provided an extraordinarily welcome safe harbor from our increasingly fractious and problematic online world. It is a corrective, in which you can see an alternative model for ethical engagement and the pursuit of the truth, not only for scholars, but for the public as well.

Grant Eben, Support Staff Information Technologist – CCR Development Team under MESH Research at the College of Arts & Letters of MSU:

My experience working with those in Humanities Commons has made it evident to me they are a wonderful group of people. They’re not only talented and knowledgeable but they possess a dedication to their mission that is truly admirable. They deserve all the recognition they receive for their efforts.

Tamar Marvin, Adjunct Professor, American Jewish University & Hebrew Union College-JIR, Los Angeles:

As an independent scholar, I greatly appreciate having a non-profit, scholarly platform to host course websites, as well as to collect my research and teaching documents. I support the mission of Humanities Commons and value its role in providing scholarship to the public.