HC User Spotlight: Luís Henriques


Luís Henriques is a musicologist and PhD candidate at the University of Évora. In this special birthday-edition HC User Spotlight, he reflects on how he has used CORE (over 250 deposits!) and sites hosted on the Commons to share his work.

I joined the Humanities Commons community in early 2017. The platform had launched in late 2016, so it was still in a very initial stage with not many users. I remember that at the time I was disappointed with surge of commercial advertisement and the introduction of a “premium” feature in academia.edu, where I had all of my research output. After reading an article posted by a senior scholar and user of that website where he raised some interesting questions for reflection, I started looking for a non-commercial platform. I found a 3-minute video of Nicky Agate at OpenCon 2016 on the The Right to Research Coalition YouTube channel. This led me to search for HC and found the website. In short, this is the story of me finding the Humanities Commons website. Continue reading “HC User Spotlight: Luís Henriques”

Building Community

Brightly colored bunting

When we launched Humanities Commons three years ago, our user base consisted of the 5,000-ish pre-existing members of MLA Commons. With generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we expanded the network to include Commons sites for our first-round pilot partners, CAA, AJS, and ASEEES. Perhaps most importantly, though, we also opened the Humanities Commons hub to any interested user who wanted to join us, regardless of institutional affiliation, society membership, disciplinary home, employment status, or geographic location.

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Creating Spaces for Collaboration


Humanities Commons has been an inspiration for us at Northeastern University. With a growing global campus network, and with numerous interdisciplinary initiatives and an active spirit of collaboration at the university, we adopted the Humanities Commons model and underlying software to enable and encourage the kinds of interactions we think will greatly improve higher education. Continue reading “Creating Spaces for Collaboration”

Implementing Global Search & Personalized Suggestions for the Commons

a pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces

Humanities Commons is powered by WordPress, and its social features like groups and member profiles depend on BuddyPress. Because of the way groups and members are stored in the database, there was no easy way for users to search all the content on the site in a single interface. Earlier this year we implemented a solution to this problem: ElasticPress-BuddyPress. Continue reading “Implementing Global Search & Personalized Suggestions for the Commons”

Doing What You Can

Endangered Data Week logo

It’s only been a year? It seems like two—yet there is one moment since the launch of Humanities Commons that stands out in my memory as particularly rewarding. Like many, I’ve grown increasingly concerned about access to data. I followed the Data Refuge events last spring. I participated in the March for Science in Princeton (since the crowd was about 4000:1 pro-science, it wasn’t exactly a challenge). We on the Humanities Commons team were of course aware of the proposed plans to shutdown the NEH and NEA, so when Kathleen Fitzpatrick suggested we mark Endangered Data Week by archiving all the white papers that have originated from grants issued by the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities, I was immediately intrigued. Continue reading “Doing What You Can”

Afterimages: Hosting an Online Exhibition on the Commons


Not long ago my colleague, Catherine Burdick, and I launched Afterimages, an online exhibition about the political graffiti that often stretches across the most prominent wall of Chile’s most iconic church. Selecting Humanities Commons as the project’s digital home was the first major conversation of our collaboration, and it remains one of the core decisions we have never reconsidered in the months of experimenting since. Continue reading “Afterimages: Hosting an Online Exhibition on the Commons”

Sharing All the Scholarly Things


When I started my first non-academic job, I asked myself, “What am I going to do with my dissertation?” It seemed such a waste that I’d put so much time and effort into original research, only to have it languish behind the locked doors of my alma mater (finding the time to turn it into a monograph wasn’t going to be an option). And as I’ve continued to work outside the academy, and the focus of my research has shifted from 19th-century French literature to scholarly communication, the kind of outputs I create have shifted too, towards what is often deemed “grey” literature: white papers, blog posts, reports. Humanities Commons allows me to express that shift with a holistic profile that represents not two (or more) discrete periods in my life, but a continuum of evolving humanities expertise. Continue reading “Sharing All the Scholarly Things”

Community, Not Clicks

Among the unsettling and depressing lessons of the last year, the darker aspects of digital platforms has stood out. Online services that we have relied on for communication and that have portrayed themselves as jovial and chatty town squares have been unmasked as much grimmer places with legions of bad actors. Publishing and collaboration channels that seemed to the casual observer as nonprofit venues were uncovered as merely nonprofitish, and were either sold or sought to add revenue in ways that conflicted with the desired activities and ethics of researchers.

Continue reading “Community, Not Clicks”