Looking back in some old shared files recently, I came across some of the early descriptions of MLA Commons, the first network of what would become the multi-network Humanities Commons. From the beginning, the network was conceived of as a space for community, especially for extending conversations happening at the MLA’s annual convention throughout the year, and for experimenting with ways to publish and share scholarship. The subsequent development of Humanities Commons and the open access repository CORE has allowed the community to extend those conversations even further. I look forward to seeing the ways this community-driven scholarly infrastructure develops in the future, with further interdisciplinarity and more features to support the work of scholars.
In my work with the Commons over the past few years, we’ve had the chance to experiment with different kinds of virtual events, including HC summer camps, a Twitter conference, and, most recently, a Teaching Remotely CORE Deposit Party (inspired by the deposit party hosted by MSU Commons). I have also had the privilege of presenting the Commons to a range of audiences at conferences, libraries, and campus centers. In those conversations, I underscore the value of the open access repository—with structured metadata and a promise of preservation—being integrated with the social aspects of the Commons, like profiles and groups. The Commons gives us tools to shape our scholarly presence online and by doing so we contribute to a network that is not-for-profit, invested in open source software and open access scholarship.
For an organization like the MLA, MLA Commons and Humanities Commons not only provides a way for members to communicate and share scholarship, it has also provided space for the collaborative work of the organization to take shape, whether it’s a group for scholars in particular a subfield, a site for a committee’s public-facing work, or a home for an interactive, open access publication like Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities.
Here’s to five years of Humanities Commons, and many more to come!